Colonoscopy Procedures in Atlanta, GA
Colonoscopy procedures can help patients achieve optimal health by preventing colon cancer or discovering it while still treatable. These examinations allow GI Specialists of Georgia’s physicians to remove polyps and screen for other colon-related diseases. Individuals with a history of inflammatory bowel diseases should consider receiving a colonoscopy, as should anyone over 50. We recommend a new screening every ten years after 50 to continue screening for the above conditions. Our facilities are fully-equipped to handle colonoscopy procedures.
What Is a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is an endoscopic procedure that investigates the colon. It is useful for evaluating lower gastrointestinal symptoms such as bleeding, abdominal pain, change in bowel habits, or anemia. Colonoscopies are also the most reliable colon cancer screening method. Our physicians will insert a small and flexible endoscopic tube, called a colonoscope, into the rectum and gently advance it through the large intestine. We sedate you before the procedure to make you comfortable while we perform it. The endoscope allows us to visualize the inside of the large intestine on a high-definition screen. Biopsies, removal of polyps, and the control of bleeding lesions are all possible during the colonoscopy.
How Do I Know I Need a Colonoscopy?
There are several warning signs associated with various colon-related illnesses, including cancer. In many – if not most – cases, the cause is not something to worry about. The only way to eliminate the more severe causes is to perform a colonoscopy. Some of the most common symptoms associated with colon cancer include abdominal pains, bloating, chronic fatigue, blood in stools, narrow or thin stools, diarrhea, constipation, changes in bowel habits, weight loss, and cramps. If you suffer from any of these symptoms for an extended period, you should immediately schedule an office visit to discuss with your physician if you should have a colonoscopy.
What Do I Need To Do To Prepare?
The success of the colonoscopy depends on the quality of the preparation. This requires both the experience and dedication of our staff to explain the preparation, as well as our patients’ commitment to following the preparation instructions. One of the best ways to ensure a successful colonoscopy is to strictly follow your doctor’s instructions and to contact us if you have any questions at all. Depending on your medical history, your doctor will prescribe one of several colonoscopy preparations. Before your colonoscopy, we will provide you with clear and important preparation instructions. For example, your colon must be completely clean for the procedure to be accurate. In general, the preparation includes the consumption of special cleansing liquids, enemas, and days of clear liquids. We use one or several of the following methods of preparation. Click on the links below to download the instructions:
- Clear Liquid Diet
- Miralax – Morning Appointments
- Miralax Prep – Afternoon Appointments
- Nulytely or Trilytely Prep
Are There Any Medications I Should Stop Taking?
You can continue taking most medications as usual, but some can interfere with the preparation process. During our initial examination, we will ask for a detailed list of all prescribed and over-the-counter medications. You must be forthright and provide a comprehensive list. Some examples of medications you cannot take in the run-up to the examination include Aspirin, arthritis medications, blood thinners, insulin, and iron products. If you are currently on antibiotics, be sure to let our physicians know, even if they are a temporary medication, because we might prescribe an antibiotic.
What Can I Expect From My Colonoscopy?
Our centers employ Certified Nurse Anesthetists working together with our physicians to provide sedation with the utmost concern for your comfort and safety. You will be monitored closely during the procedure using state of the art technology. Once you are fully asleep, your doctor will proceed with the exam. We will situate you on your side or back while we insert the colonoscope. You can expect the procedure to last 15 to 60 minutes. After your colonoscopy is complete, you will be cared for in a recovery area until the effects of the sedation have worn off. Your doctor will give you the results of your colonoscopy and provide any additional information you may request. You’ll also be given discharge instructions regarding how soon you can eat and drink, plus other guidelines for resuming your normal routine.
What Are Polyps, And Why Do You Remove Them?
Polyps are abnormal growths found on the colon line. They vary in size from tiny dots to several inches. Most polyps are benign or non-cancerous, but our physicians cannot always determine whether the polyp is benign or malignant, so we always remove them and send them to a pathologist for tissue analysis. Removing these polyps is a critical element in preventing colon cancer. Just as with the colonoscopy procedure itself, we can assure you there is no pain and only minimal post-procedure discomfort.
How Do You Remove Polyps?
At GI Specialists of Georgia, we use several methods to remove or destroy polyps during a colonoscopy procedure.. When it comes to large polyps, we must remove them by using a technique called snare polypectomy. We pass a wire loop through the colonoscope and sever the polyp from the intestine by using an electrical current during this procedure. There is no pain during this procedure. There is a small risk that the procedure can burn the colon wall, resulting in an emergency procedure.
What Are the Possible Complications of a Colonoscopy?
Most colonoscopy procedures happen without any complications. Sometimes, a tear can occur in the bowel wall, requiring minor surgery to repair. In this case, we will try to repair the tear through the colonoscope before ordering a surgical procedure. In some cases, we might require a blood transfusion, but this is rare. In some cases, patients might have a negative reaction to sedatives we use or complications from heart or lung disease. Some patients also report localized irritation in the vein where we injected the medications, but this will eventually go away. We recommend applying hot compresses to the area to speed up the recovery process. Bleeding is a normal part of the recovery process from a polypectomy and should go away within a few days. If you notice any of the following symptoms, contact our specialists immediately:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Fever and chills
- Rectal bleeding of more than one-half cup
What Happens If the Doctor Sees Something Abnormal?
If one of our physicians believes an intestine area requires further investigation, we will pass a forceps instrument through the colonoscope to obtain a sample of the colon lining – which is called a biopsy. While biopsies might seem scary, they are taken for many reasons, not just determining whether the patient has cancer. Sometimes we will take a cytology test, which involves inserting a small brush into the lining to collect cells. We then submit these specimens to a pathology lab for analysis. If we perform the colonoscopy because of bleeding, we can control these areas by coagulating the bleeding vessels. Another common abnormality is polyps, which we generally remove.
Why Choose GI Specialists of Georgia
We offer high-quality treatment that combines a compassionate bedside manner with state-of-the-art technology. We can diagnose a broad spectrum of digestive disorders in addition to colon cancer by using colonoscopies. We are a team-based practice that emphasizes collaboration. More crucially, we have nine locations, giving Georgia residents plenty of options for treatments. We also have access to clinical research trials. Our facilities can perform additional gastrointestinal procedures, including flexible sigmoidoscopies, hemorrhoidal bandings, and esophageal manometries. We are also sensitive to the current COVID-19 pandemic, so we offer state-of-the-art telehealth appointments. We can screen you for symptoms during these appointments to determine whether a colonoscopy is the appropriate course of action. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.