Module 3. During and After Colonoscopy

*Please note: This slide show represents a visual interpretation and is not intended to provide, nor substitute as, medical and/or clinical advice.
A colonoscopy is a medical procedure that lets your doctor look inside your colon and rectum for problems such as ulcers, inflammation, bleeding, polyps and tumors.
A colonoscope is the tool used to perform a colonoscopy. It is a thin, flexible tube with a light and video camera on the end.
It is inserted through the anus into the rectum and is carefully guided up through the colon, all the way to the cecum. The colonoscope can usually be used to enter the very end of the small bowel (known as the terminal ileum).

The front tip of the colonoscope contains a video camera, which sends real-time images to a computer screen so that your doctor can examine the colon.

The front tip also has a light, a channel for water irrigation, a channel for air and water, as well as an instrument channel.

The irrigation channel is used to flush water or air into the colon to remove debris or stool, and see more clearly what the inside of the colon looks like and to check for polyps.
Special tools such as tiny forceps, or wired loops, or snares can be passed through the colonoscope to remove polyps and take samples (called biopsy) of suspicious tissue in order to look for signs of cancer.

A colonoscopy usually takes 30 to 60 minutes and is performed in a hospital or clinic by a trained doctor, known as a gastroenterologist.

You will be offered a sedative to help you relax during your colonoscopy and you will be placed on your side for the procedure.

Your doctor will carefully insert the colonoscope into your rectum and advance it to the end of your colon, to your cecum

The colonoscope bends so your doctor can move it around the curves of your colon.

Your doctor might gently press on your abdomen during the procedure, or ask you to change positions occasionally to help move the scope through the colon.

During the entire procedure, a magnified, high definition video from the colonoscope plays on a monitor in real-time so your doctor can thoroughly examine the lining of your colon. Video may be recorded and photos are taken as well.
A small amount of air may be blown into your colon to help expand the passageway so that your doctor can see better. This can make you feel pressure or mild cramping, but can be eased by taking slow, deep breaths.
The colonoscope is then slowly pulled out while your doctor carefully examines the inside of your bowel.

If your doctor finds polyps or suspicious areas during the colonoscopy, the polyps will be removed and small tissue samples will be taken to be checked for signs of cancer.

Polyps are usually not cancerous, but they can change into cancer, and that is why they need to be removed.

Polyps are removed with biopsy tools or wire loops that get passed through the scope into the colon.
The most common removal technique is called “snare polypectomy”, where the polyp is surrounded by a wire loop and then an electric current in the wire burns off the polyp.

The polyp is then pulled through the instrument channel and collected for biopsy. Other methods are available depending on the size and shape of the polyp.

Polyps contain no nerves, so you won’t feel pain during their removal.

Other methods are available depending on the size and shape of the polyp.

Polyps contain no nerves, so you won’t feel pain during their removal.

After your colonoscopy, you will be taken to rest in a recovery room until the effects of your sedation wear off. You may feel some gas or cramping, but this will quickly pass.

Because of the sedation used during the procedure, you will need a family member or a close friend to drive you home. You should take the rest of the day off and not make any major plans for 24 hours.

Before you go home, your doctor will share the results of the colonoscopy with you. If a biopsy was sent to the lab it may take a few days or longer to receive the results.

Depending on the number and size of polyps found, as well as how clean your colon looks (based on the quality of your bowel prep cleanout), your doctor will recommend when your next colonoscopy should be done.

Your doctor will also provide instructions on the follow up care required at home, and how to recognize complications in case they occur.

Colonoscopy is generally a safe procedure and complications are rare.

If a polyp was removed or a biopsy was performed during your colonoscopy, there is a very small risk that you may have small amounts of blood in your stool for a few days afterwards.

However, if you experience severe abdominal pain, fever, dizziness, or continued heavy bleeding from your anus call your doctor right away.

You should always discuss any questions or concerns you have about your colonoscopy procedure, results, and post-procedure with your doctor.

Your doctor is there to help you through the process and answer any questions you may have.

Slide Show - What happens during and after a colonoscopy?

A colonoscope is the special tool used to perform a colonoscopy. It is a thin, flexible, tubular ‘telescope’ with a light and video camera that your doctor carefully guides through your colon in order to see and determine the health of your colon. View this slide show to learn about the features of the colonoscope, how the colonoscopy procedure is performed and how polyps are removed, and the follow-up care you and your doctor should talk about after your procedure.
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Animation - What happens during and after a colonoscopy?
1. Animation - What happens during and after a colonoscopy?
Slide Show - What happens during and after a colonoscopy?
2. Slide Show - What happens during and after a colonoscopy?

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