Lower GI Endoscopy

Colonoscopy is a procedure that enables the gastroenterologist to examine the inside of the large colon, from the lowest part (the rectum) up through the colon to the lower end of the small intestine. This is accomplished by inserting a thin, flexible instrument, known as an endoscope, into the anus and then advancing it slowly into the rectum and through the colon. It is performed with a visual control by either looking through the instrument or viewing a TV monitor. Because the endoscope is flexible, it can be bent to conform to the curves of the large intestine. This procedure is usually performed to diagnose unexplained changes in bowel habits, to investigate the finding of blood in the stool, and also for early detection of cancer in the colon or the rectum. Colonoscopy allows the gastroenterologist to observe inflamed areas of tissue, bleeding, abnormal growths, and muscle spasms.

Patients are required to observe a clear liquid diet and perform a prep the day prior to the procedure. Please see our colonoscopy preparation instructions also on this website.

Before the procedure, the patient is connected to a vital signs monitor and an IV line is started. In most cases, patients receive pain medication and a mild sedative through the IV line, and go into a sleepy, relaxed state of consciousness. The patient is positioned on their left side or back and the endoscope is inserted into the rectum and guided up through the colon. Once the instrument reaches the tip of the colon, the physician begins to slowly withdraw it, carefully viewing the lining again as it is removed. Because air is introduced into the colon (to provide a better image), the patient may experience some pain or bloating; however, with the aid of the medication this sensation is generally short-lived and well tolerated. If anything unusual is discovered during the examination, such as inflamed tissue or polyps, a forceps can be passed through the scope and a small sample of tissue (biopsy) removed, to be sent to the laboratory for analysis. If a bleeding site is identified, this can be controlled by several means, includung laser, special probes, or medication. Polyps (small growths which can lead to cancer) can usually be removed during an endoscopic procedure. Early removal of these polyps is an important method of preventing colorectal cancer. A colonoscopy usually takes 30 minutes or less. Following the procedure, the patient will be observed for about an hour, until the medication has begun to wear off.

Because sedation is used, the patient is not allowed to drive home; the patients should bring a family member or friend to the office to drive them. Most patients can resume a normal diet and activities when they return home. If any tissue samples were removed for analysis, the final diagnosis may take a few days.

Should a patient experience any severe abdominal pain, heavy rectal bleeding, fever, or chills, they should notify the doctor immediately.



Metro Atlanta Gastroenterology, LLC
(404) 255-4333 • 5669 Peachtree Dunwoody Road • Suite 210 • Atlanta, GA 30342