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Endoscopy Procedures (Digestive System)

What is the test?

This procedure, which enables a medical specialist called a gastroenterologist to examine the lining of your large intestine for any abnormalities, is an important exam for colon cancer screening. A narrow, flexible tube with a tiny video camera at its tip is gently inserted into your rectum and passed up through your large intestine. The camera displays video images of the intestine so that your gastroenterologist can get a detailed look at the inside of your lower digestive tract. The doctor can also remove existing polyps during the colonoscopy and obtain tissue samples for biopsy, if necessary. At Cayuga Medical Center, we offer both adult and pediatric colonoscopy.

How do I prepare?

There are a variety of bowel preparations. Your doctor will discuss with you in advance the specific preparation for your procedure.

In general, however, the following guidelines apply.

For three days leading up to your colonoscopy reduce the amount of fiber in your diet by eliminating salads, bran, fruits and vegetables with skins such as corn, peas, grapes, onions, and unpeeled apples, nuts, seeds and seed-coated breads. These foods are dense and may not be adequately flushed out of the digestive tract before the exam.

In addition, discontinue aspirin, iron, and bulking agents like Metamucil, Citrucel, Psyllium, and FiberCon. If you are taking Coumadin (Warfarin) or Plavix, ask your doctor for special instructions.

The day before the colonoscopy:

Drink only clear liquids for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Solid foods, milk or milk products are not allowed. Clear liquids include all of the following that are not colored red or purple: strained fruit juices without pulp, water, clear broth or bouillon (vegetable, chicken, beef), coffee or tea (without milk or nondairy creamer), Gatorade, carbonated and noncarbonated soft drinks, Kool-Aide (or other fruit-flavored drinks), plain Jello (without added fruit or toppings), and ice Popsicles.

Your doctor will provide you with detailed instructions about what to do on the day of your colonoscopy.

Please make arrangements ahead of time for transportation. It is our policy that you must have a family member or friend drive you home after the procedure. If you need to use taxi or bus service for transportation, you must be accompanied by a family member or friend. We require this because the sedation you will receive prior to the colonoscopy remains in your system and can slow your reaction times. You will be mildly sedated for the colonoscopy and should not drive for 12 hours following the procedure. Sedation can also make people forgetful so plan the rest of your day accordingly.

What can I expect during the procedure?

Give yourself an extra 30 minutes to check in at Outpatient Registration. Your friend or family member will be on hand to review the test results and discharge instructions and drive you home after the exam. Once you arrive in the Endoscopy Department a nurse will take your health history and blood pressure. You will also have a chance to ask your doctor any questions about the exam. After changing into a hospital gown you will be asked to lie down, and you will be positioned on your left side. You may be given an intravenous sedative to help you relax.

The doctor will insert a narrow flexible tube into your rectum and carefully advance it through your colon, monitoring the progress by means of the instrument's camera and a video screen. The exam generally takes about 20 to 30 minutes. Your entire stay at the hospital should last 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

How and when will I get my test results?

After your exam, you will be moved to the recovery area of the Endoscopy Department until you are fully awake and meet certain discharge criteria. Your physician will discuss the results with you, and will send a report to your primary care provider. Your companion should drive you home, as it is unsafe for you to operate a car or perform tasks that require alertness and coordination for the remainder of the day. You may resume your regular diet.

Where is the test performed?

Colonoscopies are performed at Cayuga Medical Center at 101 Dates Drive, off NYS Route 96 in Ithaca, and at Surgicare, which is located at Convenient Care at Ithaca, Arrowwood Drive, off Warren Road in Ithaca.

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