Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be. Simple routine screening procedures, like the colonoscopy, can help stop colon cancer before it even begins.
Colonoscopies detect possible issues, like polyps, so they can be removed. Left on their own too long, polyps can become cancerous with few, if any, symptoms.
We know you probably aren’t excited about a colonoscopy and there are always excuses to put off scheduling an appointment. But the bottom line is colonoscopies save lives – maybe even yours. Which is why we’ve made it our mission to make the process even easier by:
- Developing the Kinder Colonoscopy to make the procedure more comfortable and convenient for patients
- Offering colonoscopies on Saturdays to accommodate your schedule – no more excuses
- Performing most procedures in our convenient Endoscopy Suites that are more convenient
What is a colonoscopy?
It is a safe, effective means of visually examining the full lining of the colon and rectum, using a long, flexible, tubular instrument. It is used to diagnose colon and rectum problems and to perform biopsies and remove colon polyps.
How long do colonoscopies take?
Most colonoscopies are done on an outpatient basis with minimal inconvenience and discomfort.
Are colonoscopies uncomfortable?
We know most people don’t look forward to getting a colonoscopy, but medical advances have made the experience much more tolerable than it used to be. CRS even developed the Kinder Colonoscopy to make the process even more convenient for patients.
Who should have a colonoscopy?
Colonoscopies are recommended at age 50 for Caucasians and 45 for African Americans. Those with a family history should have one sooner. Your physician may recommend a colonoscopy exam if you have change in bowel habit or bleeding, indicating a possible problem in the colon or rectum.
A colonoscopy is also used to:
- Check unexplained abdominal symptoms
- Check inflammatory bowel disease (colitis)
- Verify findings of polyps or tumors located with a barium enema exam
- Examine patients who test positive for blood in the stool
- Monitor patients with a past history of colon polyps or cancer
How is a colonoscopy performed?
The bowel must first be thoroughly cleared of all residue before a colonoscopy. This is done 1-2 days before the exam as prescribed by your physician. For many patients we recommend a split-dose pill prep that is usually more tolerable than some other preps.
During the procedure the colonoscope is inserted, and when possible, advanced to the portion of the colon where the small intestine enters. During a complete examination of the bowel, your physician will remove polyps or take biopsies as necessary. The entire procedure usually takes less than an hour.
Do colonoscopies hurt?
There is little pain and a mild sedation may be given when necessary to relieve anxiety or discomfort.
Following the colonoscopy, there may be slight discomfort, which quickly improves with the expelling of gas. If additional pain medication is needed your CRS physician will advise you on what to take.
What are the benefits of colonoscopy?
With a colonoscopy, it is possible to detect and remove most polyps without abdominal surgery. CRS uses state-of-the art equipment to provide patients with a more accurate colonoscopy to detect polyps or early cancer.
Frequently, polyps can be removed at the same time, a major step towards the prevention of colon cancer.
How often should you have a colonoscopy?
After the age of 50 most physicians recommend a colonoscopy every 5 years. Your physician may recommend a different schedule based on your family history or other health factors.
Are Colonoscopies Effective?
“Our updated colonoscopy equipment allow us to detect polyps and other pathology with greater accuracy. The High Definition monitors and advanced equipment ensures all surgeons at Colon and Rectal Specialists will continue to deliver the highest quality of care to our patients. As Surgeons, we are unique in that we can treat polyps endoscopically; but if they are too large to remove, or involve greater technical risk we can perform minimally invasive colonic resection or polyp removal via laparoscopic or Robotic techniques.” – Dr. Gentry
Will Insurance Cover My Colonoscopy?
he Affordable Care Act requires recommended preventative services, such as colonoscopies, be covered at no cost to the patient. However, strict guidelines are used by insurance companies to determine whether a colonoscopy is categorized as preventative or diagnostic, which can impact your potential out of pocket cost. Read our guide to help you plan.
If you are in the Richmond area and need a colonoscopy contact the providers at CRS. No referral is needed and we offer convenient appointment times including Saturdays. Make An Appointment