7 Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before Having a Colonoscopy
More than 40,000 Americans a day, on average, have a colonoscopy, but many still don’t understand how they work, how often they should have screening tests, or even why they are important. Another fact that many do not know: despite the thousands of procedures performed daily, colonoscopy is not routine. Since the procedures require extensive preparation and soothing, they should only be performed by trained experts. To help patients understand the requirements and risks involved and help them prepare for a thorough and thorough examination, we asked Dr. Jeffrey Weber, a gastroenterologist and chief medical officer at our hospital near Phoenix, to answer a few questions. Common things that patients can use. Or should I ask.
Do I really need a colonoscopy when I can have a stool test?
Technology has improved the accuracy of stool tests to detect mutations in DNA or blood markers that may indicate cancer. This relieves patients who simply refuse to have a colonoscopy. “I am sorry for stool tests, such as Cologuard ®Or others are suitable for someone unwilling to have a colonoscopy,” says Dr. Weber, adding that a stool test is better than no test. But for Dr. Weber and many other doctors, stool tests don’t hold true. Stool tests can reveal signs You may have cancer, but negative results overlook the possibility of small, latent polyps, which poses a risk of developing into tumors later. “If you get a positive stool test result, you will still need a colonoscopy,” says Dr. Weber. Not for patients at high risk of colon cancer either.Stool tests are not recommended for patients with a history of polyps, positive stool tests, or a family history of colon cancer.
“If you have a positive stool test, you will still need a colonoscopy.” Jeffrey Weber, MD – gastroenterologist
How should I prepare for my colonoscopy?
Patients often fear preparing for a colonoscopy more than the procedure itself. But times have changed and laxatives or strong bowel cleansers are no longer prescribed in many cases. Talk to your doctor about options. Some doctors may suggest over-the-counter laxatives that are easy to swallow. “Every physician has their own way of preparing patients for a colonoscopy,” says Dr. Webber. “He should give him a choice of preparations. There are some preparations that are not that bad.”
How will I be sedated for my colonoscopy?
For years, doctors have used a combination of sedative medications such as fentanyl, meperidine (Demerol® ) and midazolam (Versed® ) during colonoscopy. But the drugs last for hours, much longer than necessary, and they haven’t been shown to work in some younger patients or in patients with a history of alcohol abuse or drug abuse, says Dr. Webber. He says the sedative propofol may be a better option because it works quickly before the procedure and may take less time to recover afterward. “You go in, the operation is done, and after half an hour you can come out,” says Dr. Webber. Dr. Webber says that some patients request no sedation during the procedure, although this approach is not recommended. “You don’t have to be awake or semi-conscious for any painful procedure,” he says. A colonoscopy is painful.
Is it important for my doctor to be board certified in gastroenterology?
Due to the invasive nature of colonoscopy, it should only be performed by physicians with special training, experience, and professional certification, says Dr. Webber. “There are weekend courses on how to do a colonoscopy, and that’s all some states need for training.” He says. Board-certified gastroenterologists undergo extensive training in colonoscopy and other diagnostic and treatment procedures and must take continuing medical education classes. “If you want quality assurance, you have to go to someone who is board certified,” says Dr. Webber. “Board certification indicates that these experts have passed full training programs, taken the appropriate exams, and passed.”
“If you want quality assurance, you have to go to a board-certified person.” – Jeffrey Weber, MD – gastroenterologist
Why should I ask my doctor about the adenoma detection rate (ADR)?
Adenomas are polyps, or growths, on the inner wall of the colon. Some develop malignant tumors. Looking at the history of colonoscopy results over time, experts know that in patients over 50, colonoscopy will detect adenomas in at least 25 percent of men and 15 percent of women. Under this criterion, all gastroenterologists are assigned an ADR that measures their ability to detect this increase, according to the American College of Gastroenterology. “Physicians who meet or exceed this detection rate are generally considered knowledgeable and capable of performing a colonoscopy,” says Dr. Webber. According to an editorial in the Medical Journal of the American Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Association, adverse drug reactions have become “widely accepted by expert groups as an important measure of colonoscopy quality.”
Is ambient air or carbon dioxide used in the procedure?
During a colonoscopy, a process called inflating is used to inflate the colon with air, allowing the doctor to move the endoscope around the organ’s multiple curves. “For years, we’ve been using room air, and it was fine,” says Dr. Webber. “But the air in the room has to be expelled from the body.” Some patients may take hours to pass gas, he says. Meanwhile, they may feel bloated, cramped, or bloated. Dr. Webber recommends using carbon dioxide to inflate the colon. “The lining of the colon absorbs carbon dioxide as you breathe it in.”
How long should I wait for a colonoscopy to take?
Expect to spend at least four hours in the hospital or outpatient center where the procedure will be performed, to allow for preoperative preparations and recovery. Dr. Webber says he generally brings patients 90 minutes before the scheduled test, so that they have time to complete paperwork, provide necessary information to the doctor and/or nurse, undress, and insert an IV. A colonoscopy usually takes about 45 minutes (longer if endoscopy is also done). Recovery usually takes less than 30 minutes, depending on the sedative and the type of blowing gas used. But even after returning home, patients should take some time before returning to their normal routine. “Take it easy for 10 to 12 hours,” he says. “Don’t sign any important documents. Don’t do anything dangerous. Don’t drive for at least 10 hours.”