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Colonoscopy Information

Please talk to your doctor about when you should first be screened for colon cancer.

What is a Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a common procedure that allows doctors to look at the entire colon for any abnormality. During your colonoscopy, the doctor will insert a colonoscope – a flexible, lighted tube which can view the entire colon.

Why is it Important?

A colonoscopy is used to screen the colon for cancer or precancerous growths (polyps). During a colonoscopy tissue samples may be collected and polyps may be removed. People age 45 and older who have no risk factors for colon cancer are advised to have routine colonoscopies. If you are at a higher risk for colon cancer, your doctor may recommend earlier or more frequent testing. A colonoscopy may help your doctor diagnose the causes of a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms.

Preparing for a Colonoscopy

One of our staff from Gastroenterology will be calling you to discuss your medical history, allergies, and any medical problems you may have.

Taking a Laxative: Before your colonoscopy, you will be asked to take specific laxatives to clean your colon. It is very important that your colon be free of any fecal matter so that your doctor will be able to view the interior of your colon.

Following a Specific Diet the Day Prior to the Exam: You may be asked to follow a specific diet for up to two days before your colonoscopy. 

Please review the instructions you receive in the mail. If you have not received them five days before your appointment, please call (805) 898-3120 to make sure you have them.

During a Colonoscopy

We ask our patients to arrive approximately 30 minutes before your procedure. However, you will be given specific instructions before your colonoscopy. The procedure generally takes 20 to 30 minutes. Patients can expect to rest in the recovery area for about 30 minutes after your colonoscopy is complete.

Please feel free to ask any more questions you may have. Your privacy is very important to us. When you arrive for a colonoscopy, you will be guided to a private changing area where you will be given a gown to change into and wear during your colonoscopy. There are separate waiting rooms for men and women. Colonoscopies are completed by a board-certified Gastroenterologist. One of our healthcare professionals will explain what will happen during the procedure, and you can feel free to ask questions at any time. You will be given sedation to ensure you are relaxed and generally do not feel pain, but you may feel some pressure on your abdomen during your colonoscopy. During a Colonoscopy We know that colon cancer is a sensitive subject and a very private matter. We recognize it can be difficult to talk about. Our staff is trained to give guidance in this area. Please feel free to talk with a healthcare professional with whom you are comfortable talking about this.

After a Colonoscopy

After your colonoscopy, you will be relaxed and may not remember very much about the procedure because of the sedative. Your sedation will quickly wear off and you will be moved into recovery and prepared to go home. Because you received sedation, you will not be able to drive and will need to arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure.

The nurses will tell you when you can resume your normal diet and activities. It is important to drink a lot of fluid after the test to replace the fluids you have lost during the preparation for the colonoscopy. You may feel bloated or pass gas for a few hours after the colonoscopy.

If polyps are removed during your procedure, you will be notified of the results within 2 - 3 weeks. The gastroenterologist will be notified of the results if polyps were removed during your procedure, and we will recommend when you should schedule your next colonoscopy. A normal exam generally means you should be scheduled in 10 years.