A colonoscopy is a procedure which allows a physician to look at the interior lining of the large intestine through a high resolution video camera called an colonoscope.

This procedure may help find polyps, colon disease, ulcers, areas of inflammation or bleeding and causes of diarrhea. A colonoscopy is most often used to look for early signs of cancer in the colon and/or rectum.
*According to the American Cancer Society, one of the most powerful weapons in preventing colorectal cancer is through colorectal screening or testing. People who have no identified risk factors (other than age) should begin regular screening for colon and rectal cancer at the age of 50. Those who have a family history or other risk factors for colorectal polyps or cancer need to talk with their doctor about starting screening at a younger age and more frequent intervals.

Indications for a colonoscopy may include, but may not be limited to:

Diseases or illnesses that can be diagnosed as a results of a colonoscopy may include, but may not be limited to:

  • Rectal pain
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Abdominal pain
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Colitis
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Diverticulosis

Thin flexible instrument used to visualize the inside of your rectum and colon. It can be used to collect a biopsy (small growths and tissue samples) and contains a small camera with a light on the end to videotape and capture images.

You will be required to consume a bowel prep to clean the bowels prior to the procedure. Your physician or nurse will give you instructions on the type of prep you are to take. The prep will cause you to have multiple bowel movements resulting in liquid stools. You should always follow the instructions given to you by your physician or nurse. Generally speaking, you should begin a clear liquid diet the day before the procedure and avoid any solid foods. You should not have any liquids by mouth for at least 2 hours prior to your scheduled colonoscopy procedure.

Please call your physician if you were unable to complete your prep. It may be necessary that your test be re-scheduled.
Please tell us in advance if your health history has changed in any way since you last saw your GI physician.

*For more information regarding prevention, early detection and treatment of colorectal cancer please visit the American Cancer Society website:


  • Your nurse will take your blood pressure, temperature and other vital signs
  • You will be asked about pain of any kind
  • Your nurse will review your medical history with you, and all of the forms that will need to be filled out
  • Your medications and allergies to medications will be reviewed
  • An IV will be started
  • An assessment will be completed


  • Monitors will be placed on you in order that we may monitor your blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation.
  • You will be placed on a small amount of oxygen through a nasal cannula.
  • Medications will be given by physicians orders throughout the procedure (medications most commonly used are Demerol; Versed; Fentanyl; and Propofol). Please notify your nurse if you are allergic to any of these medications.
  • Your physician may take biopsies, remove polyps or perform treatment during the procedure (specimens will be sent for testing and your physicians office will call you with the results).
  • The procedure will usually take an average of 30-45 minutes

We require that the person accompanying you remain at the Center during your procedure and to drive you home after your procedure. If you have any valuables with you, we will ask that you give them to the person accompanying you. Remember to ask any questions that you may have at any time.

You will remain in recovery for at least 30 minutes. The nurse will take your temperature, vital signs and do an assessment and your physician will talk to you about your procedure. If appropriate, you will then be given fluids to drink.

Discharge instructions will be reviewed with you and the person accompanying you and will include all of the following:

  • Do not operate machinery or heavy equipment for 24 hours
  • Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours, but plenty of other fluids
  • Avoid any foods that are greasy or spicy for the first meal
  • No lifting over 10 pounds for 24 hours
  • Call your physician if you experience severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea, vomiting or bleeding.¬†For care after-hours (eg, emergencies) you will have to go to the local emergency room.
  • Fall precautions related to sedation will be reviewed
  • Resumption of your medications will be reviewed

You may be very sleepy at the time of discharge. You are encouraged to go home and rest for the rest of the day. Any special instructions from your physician will be written on the discharge sheet. Your physician will determine if follow-up is needed.