We perform Colonoscopies at Midtown Surgery Center in Denver, CO. Our patient-friendly process of scheduling a colonoscopy for you.
A colonoscopy is a procedure that allows a doctor to visually examine the inside of the colon. With a patient under sedation, a flexible instrument is inserted into the rectum and advanced through the length of the colon. The doctor can then carefully examine the lining of the colon and rectum, looking for abnormalities, such as polyps and growths.
We perform thousands of colonoscopies yearly. We are grateful for the opportunity to provide for you a "screening colonoscopy", or for our prior patients with a history of colorectal polyps, a follow-up "surveillance colonoscopy".
If you are a new patient, or a patient of ours who has not been to our clinic for greater than three years, please click on the link above "Colonoscopy Packet for New Patients". You will be directed to our secure, HIPPA-compliant webpage where you can provide all necessary information. After completing the packet, you will be able to securely (HIPPA- compliant) electronically transmit to us the information needed to schedule your exam.
The doctor providing your exam will be able to review your clinical history and current medications. We will communicate to you any specific pre-test instructions. If you wish, you can meet with our doctors in the office setting prior to your day of exam, however through our electronic transmission process we strive to save you the time and expense of an Office Visit.
What is a SCREENING Colonoscopy?
A screening colonoscopy is an examination of the colon and
rectum for persons without symptoms or personal or family risk
factors who have reached the age of 50 years old (perhaps age 45, if covered by your health insurance company). Persons qualify for a "screening colonoscopy" if they do not have personal symptoms that the doctor is evaluating. Some examples of symptoms include blood seen with a bowel movement, or a change in bowel habits, or unexplained anemia, or unexplained weight loss, etc.
Colon and rectal cancer affects both men and women. Both sexes and all races and nationalities are at risk for the development of colorectal cancer. Some groups, such as African-Americans, may benefit from screening colonoscopy at an earlier age.
We sometimes hear from our patients, “I don’t need a colonoscopy because I am healthy and I feel great”. That is exactly the time you SHOULD obtain screening colonoscopy. Polyps and early potentially curable cancers usually do NOT cause symptoms of visible bleeding, or abdominal pain, or changes in the stools.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Preparing For a Colonoscopy
Colorectal Cancer Awareness
Benefits of a Colonoscopy
An advantage of colonoscopy over other tests of the colon is the
increased ability (sensitivity) to find small polyps, and silent growths, combined with the ability to IMMEDIATELY remove those polyps or obtain biopsies at the time of the examination. Not many medical tests designed to find a problem (colon polyps and cancer) also have the additional ability to immediately lower the risk of developing the problem.
Colonoscopy saves lives. Numerous studies show that people
who obtain a screening colonoscopy have significantly lower
rates of developing future colorectal cancer and lower rates of dying
from colorectal cancer.
Another benefit of colonoscopy is the increased time interval
between examinations. For persons at the lowest risk, with a high
quality normal examination, the interval between examinations can
be as long as ten years. The recommended time between
examinations is individualized for each person and will be part of
the discussion with your doctor following the exam.
Preparation Prior to the Examination
Emptying the contents of the colon is a key requirement for a successful colonoscopy. If the bowel prep isn't up to par, polyps and lesions can be missed; the colonoscopy may take longer (increasing the risk of complications); or the whole process may need to be repeated or rescheduled, meaning another round of bowel prep.
Our office uses the Miralax and Gatorade protocol. Everything can be purchased at the drug or grocery store without a prescription. If you have had better success with a different preparation, we are happy to call in a prescription for you.
If you have had previous nausea problems with bowel preps, let us know and we may be able to make an anti-nausea medication as part of your bowel preparation program.
Purchase double-ply, soft toilet paper.
Consider a barrier cream before you start your prep, consider Calmospetine, Resinol or Vaseline.
The day of your prep, use the clear liquid list provided to you and start your preparation well-hydrated.
How is the Colonoscopy Performed?
A colonoscopy is done in an outpatient setting. Patients take an oral preparation to cleanse the bowel before the procedure (see above). Colonoscopies are done under sedation, not anesthesia. The entire procedure usually takes less than an hour. A friend or family member must transport the patient home following discharge from the facility. It is expected that a person can resume normal activities, including driving, the day following the exam.
If the doctor sees an area in the bowel that needs further evaluation, a biopsy or polypectomy (removal of polyp) may be performed. This sample is sent to the pathology lab. Biopsies are taken for many reasons, and do not necessarily mean that cancer is suspected.
After the exam the doctor will discuss the results and any findings with you in the recovery room, prior to your discharge home.
What Happens Following the Colonoscopy?
If there are biopsies or polyps removed, the doctor will communicate with you over the following days (usually within 7-14 days). The discussion includes recommendations for further treatment or the interval recommendation for repeating the colonoscopy in the future. It is another opportunity to discuss with your doctor any remaining questions.
All information, including the procedure findings, any pathology analysis, and future care recommendations are sent to your family doctor as a complete organized package.
Possible Side Effects and Complications
Complications are very rare.
Because air is used to visualize the colon during the exam, people sometimes feel bloated, have gas pains, or have cramping for a while after the exam until the air is passed out.
If a polyp is removed or a biopsy is done during the colonoscopy, you may notice some blood in your stool for 1 or 2 days after the test. Significant bleeding is uncommon, but in rare cases (less than 1% of cases) there can be serious bleeding that requires treatment. Call you doctor after your examination if you are having bleeding that is not a limited small amount occurring only with bowel movements or you are worried.
It is very important to inform your doctor, at least two weeks prior to the procedure, of any blood thinning medications you make take (including aspirin products), and the reasons for taking these types of medications.
Colonoscopy is a safe procedure, but on extremely rare occasions (less than 1%) the colonoscope can injure the wall of the colon or rectum. This is called a perforation. Symptoms include worsening constant abdominal (belly) pain, distention, possible fever, nausea, and/or vomiting. This can be a serious (or even life-threatening) complication. Repair of the injury may require surgery. Talk to your doctor about the risk of this and all complications.
Can You Prevent Colon Cancer?
The American Cancer Society says it best: “Removing polyps can help prevent colorectal cancer from ever starting. And cancers found in an early stage, while they are small and before they have spread, are more easily treated. Nine out of 10 people whose colon cancer is discovered early will be alive 5 years later. And many will live a normal life span. But all too often people don’t get any of these screening tests. Then the cancer can grow and spread without being noticed. Early on, colorectal cancer doesn’t usually cause any changes that are noticed (symptoms). In most cases, by the time people do have symptoms the cancer is advanced and very hard to treat. Regular screening is the most reliable way to find these cancers in the early stages. Ask a doctor about the best screening plan for you.”