Why do I need this procedure?

Your physician has ordered this procedure to examine and visualize your colon for screening for colon cancer to diagnose diverticulitis (more info), diverticulosis (more info), hemorrhoids (more info), and polyps.

Colonoscopy is a method to evaluate and determine causes for conditions such as diarrhea , constipation, anemia , bleeding , bloating , Crohn's disease , inflammatory bowel disease and colon strictures.

How is a colonoscopy performed?

The procedure is performed with you lying on your left side.

After the administration of a mild sedative, the endoscope is gently inserted through the anus and moved around the bends of the colon.

What is the preparation?

The key to an accurate diagnosis of your problem is proper preparation. The bowel needs to be flushed completely free of waste material to give the clearest possible view. You will receive instructions on how to do this from your physician.

Diet - You should drink only clear liquids and eat no solid foods for the day before the exam.

Seeds and nuts frequently take longer to pass through the bowel than other foods.

You should try to avoid seeds and nuts during the week preceding your examination.

Nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before your procedure except those liquids included in your preparation. If your procedure is later in the day, you may have water up to 6 hours before your procedure. You should avoid chewing gum.

If you become uncomfortable with a dry mouth, you may swish and spit using water or mouth wash.

Medications - If you take heart, blood pressure or respiratory medications, take them one hour before your appointment with a small amount of water.

Please notify your doctor if you are taking blood thinners such as Coumadin ®, Plavix ® or Aspirin ® regularly. Special instructions may be necessary.

When you arrive for your appointment, please notify The Endoscopy Center staff the date of your last dose of medications

What to bring?

Insurance card

List of the medications you are currently taking, list of any medication allergies, allergies to adhesive tape or Latex

The name (if any) of the physician (such as your primary physician) that you would like to receive copies of the report.

You will be asked questions about your medical and surgical history. It is helpful to have this information in written format.

What to wear?

Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes and socks to keep you warm.

Do not wear heavy or bulky sweaters. Avoid girdles, pantyhose, or tight-fitting garments. You will be required to change into a hospital gown for your procedure.

Prior to the procedure you will be asked to remove your eye glasses. Contact lenses will not need to be removed. Dentures need to be removed only if they fit loosely.

Leave all jewelry and valuables at home. You may keep hearing assist devices in place.


Before the procedure begins, your temperature, EKG, blood pressure and blood oxygen will be measured.

During the procedure and recovery period, monitoring of blood pressure, EKG and blood oxygen level is continued.

You may receive supplemental oxygen during the procedure using a small tube which fits under your nose.

If you are a diabetic, your blood sugar may be monitored.


Bring a driver since you may not drive yourself home . Because of the effects of the sedation you will be receiving, you will not be able to drive for at least 12 hours after your procedure.

If possible, your driver should be someone with whom your doctor can freely discuss the results of your procedure, since you may be a little forgetful afterwards.

We request that your driver remain at the center during your exam. However, if this is not possible, we will ask for contact information such as a cell phone number.

You should plan on being at The Endoscopy Center approximately 1 to 2 hours.

Taxis and Buses are unacceptable means of transportation unless you will be accompanied by a family member or friend who will sign you out.

Your Permission - If you have any questions or concerns about this exam, do not hesitate to ask your physician about them. To signify that you completely understand what this exam involves and that you are giving permission for the physician to perform this exam, you will be asked to sign a written consent form before the test begins. Your physician will discuss the exam with you and answer any questions.

Discharge Instructions

While you will soon be resuming your normal activities, there are several directions and precautions that you should be aware of to insure your safety.

  Because of the medication you are given during the procedure, you may experience amnesia, which may last for the remainder of the day. You will be given written instructions upon discharge to review as your amnesia subsides.

 Because you have been sedated for the procedure, you are not to drive a motor vehicle, operate dangerous machinery, or perform potentially hazardous tasks for at least twelve hours or until you have completely recovered from the effects of the medication.

  Do not consume alcohol for 12 hours following your procedure.

  Do not conduct important business or sign any legal documents.

  Since you have been fasting and your lower intestinal tract has been examined, it is wise to slowly resume your eating. A light snack as your first food is advisable.

  During the procedure, the doctor uses air to inflate the colon to help him visualize this organ. While the physician removes as much as possible, some air may remain and be passed normally. You may feel slightly bloated and gaseous. This is normal and will go away within a few hours.

  If you have redness or swelling at sites where medications were given, place a warm wet washcloth over the affected area for twenty minutes. If the symptoms persist for over two days please contact our office at 760-274-2700

  Call our office if you develop a fever greater than 101 degrees or chills during the next 48 hours.

  Call your physician if any questions or problems arise.

  Because your colon has been completely cleaned out for the procedure, do not expect to have a normal bowel movement for at least 24 to 48 hours after the procedure. Your first bowel movement may be diarrhea or loose stool.

  Rarely, complications can occur. While every caution is taken to prevent any problems, complications can occur and sometimes these may not become evident for several hours. If, in the next 24 hours you experience any of the following, contact your doctor immediately. If your physician is unavailable, have someone drive you to the Emergency Department.

  Passage of a large amount of bloody, black or coffee ground material. (Spotty bleeding may be noted for 2-3 days after the procedure, especially if biopsies or polyps were taken. This is normal).

  Severe or new onset of abdominal pain.

  Severe dizziness or fainting.

  Sweating, severe nausea, or high fever.

These symptoms may indicate a complication of the procedure.

Your physician will want to discuss these symptoms with you.