How to prepare for a colonoscopy & what it's like

March 1, 2012 Rodney J. Kratz, M.D.

In many cases, people who have had colonoscopy will say that the procedure itself was fine, since it is performed while the patient is under sedation. However, people tend to feel less favorable about the prep involved prior to the procedure. I recently had my first colonoscopy and decided to document my personal experience of the prep process on video to share with others.



Other frequently asked questions about colonoscopy:

How long does colonoscopy take?

This procedure takes approximately 30 minutes. It allows the physician to examine the inside of the rectum and the entire colon using a colonoscope. A colonoscope has a light and lens for viewing. It also has a tool to remove polyp tissue (or, if necessary during the colonoscopy, the entire polyp).

How it works:

Like most colorectal screenings, colonoscopy requires that your colon be completely empty. A combination of liquid diet and laxatives may be prescribed to cleanse the colon before the procedure.

Where is it performed?

Colonoscopy is performed in an outpatient setting. To make the procedure as comfortable as possible, you will be given a sedative.

You will lay on your left side with knees drawn up to your chest. Blood pressure, heart rate and breathing are monitored during and after the test. The physician will gently insert the lubricated colonoscope into the rectum for a thorough examination of the rectum and colon.

What will happen if abnormalities are found?

If polyps or other abnormalities are found, a sample of tissue (biopsy) may be taken for further examination. Some general abdominal discomfort, such as cramps or bloating, may be experienced.


For more information about colonoscopies, talk to your health care provider or call Swedish Colon & Rectal Clinic at 206-386-6600. 

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