Good Health. Great Life.
A Colonoscopy is the beginning, not the end.
Our doctors have cared for thousands of patients coming in for their colonoscopy. Whether this is your first time or not, you may have questions. This page contains the most common questions patients ask and provides answers to help educate you as you prepare for your procedure.
What exactly is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure in which the inside of the large intestine (the colon and rectum) is examined. Your doctor will insert a thin, lighted tube into your rectum. A tiny camera on the end of the tube allows the doctor to inspect the inside of your colon for abnormalities including colorectal polyps, which may or may not be cancerous.
How long does the procedure take?
A typical colonoscopy takes between 30 and 60 minutes.
Words of Hope
My message to everyone is please, please do not ignore the symptoms you have – they could be the warning you need to save your life!
Stacy, Colon Cancer Survivor
Does it hurt?
No. You will be sedated during the procedure, so there will be no pain. You may experience some minor discomfort following your coloscopy in the form of bloating and gas pains. This is because air is introduced into your colon during the procedure, and until you expel that extra air, you may feel some minor abdominal discomfort.
When will I know the results of my colonoscopy?
Your doctor may advise you immediately following your procedure if there were any polyps discovered and/or removed. If a biopsy is taken or a small polyp is removed, it can take three weeks to get the results back from the lab.
Words of Inspiration
I think my work is what saved me because instead of dwelling on my physical discomforts, if I have an opinion to write or a brief to read, I know I’ve just got to get it done so I have to get over it.
Supreme Court Justice, and colorectal cancer
survivor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg
If my doctor finds polyps,
what are my options?
The discovery of polyps during your colonoscopy does not mean you have cancer. Most polyps are not cancerous. Others may be precancerous. Your doctor may remove small polyps during the coloscopy. These will be sent to a lab to be tested. If large polyps are discovered, you may be advised to have them surgically removed.
Why do I need to drink the prep the day before?
In order to have a successful colonoscopy, you MUST complete the bowel prep as directed by your physician. In order for the camera to see everything, your colon must be empty. If you arrive for your appointment but did not follow the complete instructions, your procedure may have to be rescheduled.
Once I have the colonoscopy, do I have to be screened again?
National guidelines recommend every adult have a colonoscopy every ten years beginning at age 50. If you have a history of
colorectal cancer in your family, or if your doctor finds polyps
during your screening, you may be advised to have the procedure every five years to closely monitor you.
Words of Wisdom
My words of advice are, never give up or lose hope, no matter how bad the diagnosis. Anything can happen. Roger, Stage II Rectal Cancer Survivor
- • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- • National Cancer Institute
- • Mayo Clinic
- • American College of Gastroenterology