Discover Why It Is Essential to Get a Colonoscopy Exam
Are you aware that the five-year survival rate for individuals with colon cancer is 90% if the condition is found and treated early on in its development? In terms of catching colorectal cancer and additional colorectal concerns, colonoscopy has gained a reputation in the gastroenterology community as the most reliable, effective exam.
The skilled practitioners at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates regularly conduct colonoscopy screenings for patients throughout our community. Keep reading as our New Orleans, LA digestive health team discusses the important role colonoscopies play in safeguarding gastrointestinal health.
Who is a good candidate for a colonoscopy?
Undergoing routine colonoscopies is recommended for adults 45 years of age or older. Younger patients might also be advised to have a cancer screening if meeting any of the following criteria:
- You have a type of inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBD) (like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis)
- Your family medical history includes colon cancer or polyps
- You show signs or symptoms that could indicate colon or rectal cancer, including:
- Blood in the stool
- Abdominal pain
- Unintentional weight loss
Please note that the symptoms here are also seen with other gastrointestinal diseases, making it vital to set up a colonoscopy exam to assess your symptoms and digestive health. Contact Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates to learn more information about other conditions that may be uncovered with a colonoscopy screening.
How long does a colonoscopy exam take?
For most individuals, the whole colonoscopy exam typically takes a few hours, from preparation to recovery. You should make plans to arrive at your colonoscopy doctor's facility or endoscopy center in New Orleans, LA 1 – 1.5 hours before your scheduled exam time. This will provide you extra time to fill out any necessary patient forms and change into a medical gown. Once you are ready, you'll be shown into the exam room, where the medical staff will administer a sedative to make you feel more relaxed and at ease throughout the colonoscopy exam.
Generally speaking, a colonoscopy exam takes 15 – 30 minutes. Your physician will carefully position the colonoscope (a flexible, probe-mounted video camera) into your rectum, gradually advancing it forward and watching the live video feed for any conditions. If colorectal polyps are detected during the screening, your GI doctor may remove them at this time.
After the colonoscopy, you will relax in a recovery area to allow the sedative effects to diminish. This might take up to an hour, depending on the quantity of sedation required and your reaction to it. It's common to be drowsy for the rest of the day, so plan ahead to have someone escort you home. You should also avoid strenuous activity or completing important paperwork until you recover. You will be given a printed report outlining your procedure results and will likely be contacted by your GI doctor regarding any biopsy results typically within seven days.
Routine colonoscopies are a small investment in time for the diagnostic benefits and peace of mind they provide. To hear more about what to expect when undergoing a colonoscopy screening, connect with a Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates location near you to find a doctor who offers colonoscopies in New Orleans, LA.
Does a colonoscopy carry any risks I should consider?
When it comes to risks, there is a small possibility that some indications or conditions (including colorectal growths) might not be readily visible in your colonoscopy procedure. It's crucial to reach out to your GI specialist and keep them informed of any persisting or new symptoms.
Additional possible risks affiliated with a colonoscopy screening include piercing of the large intestine, unfavorable response to the sedative medication, or bleeding (in the event any growths are excised). Keep in mind, however, that less than 1% of colonoscopies incur complications, most of which are minor. If you have any questions or concerns involving the risks associated with a colonoscopy, our Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates team will be pleased to go over those with you.
Find a colonoscopy doctor in New Orleans, LA
Given that colon and rectal cancer rates are trending upward in the younger adult population, the importance of having a colonoscopy to preserve your gastrointestinal health cannot be emphasized enough. If you are age 45 or older or have an elevated risk of developing colon or rectal cancer, contact the gastroenterologists at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates to learn more about a colonoscopy exam. Take charge of your GI health and get in touch with our New Orleans, LA team today.