What's the third biggest cause of cancer deaths in the United States? The American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy says it's colon cancer, and if you're over 50, you should be screened for it. At Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants, expect the highest standard of care. Your Houston, TX, gastroenterologist, Dr. Krishnamurthy Shivshanker and his professional team will make your experience as easy as possible and answer all your questions about this life-saving procedure.
Frequently asked questions about colonoscopy
1. Do I have to have one? If you're 50 or older, the answer is yes, and in some cases, routine colon cancer screenings happen more frequently if the illness seems to run in the family.
2. Exactly what is it? It's an outpatient procedure in which the Houston gastroenterologist inserts a flexible and lighted tube into the anus, through the rectum and into the entire length of the large intestine. The tube has a camera which sends real-time video feed to a monitor in the treatment room. Colonoscopies detect abnormalities such as polyps, cancer, diverticulum, sources of bleeding and more.
3. What's the reason for the day-long prep? The patient abstains from solid foods, consuming only a clear liquid diet the day before the procedure. Also, he or she follows a bowel prep regimen which includes consumption of laxatives. A clean bowel gives the doctor the best possible images during the procedure.
4. What does the doctor see during my colonoscopy? He sees the normal lining of the large intestine and also can visualize any abnormalities. If, for instance, he sees a polyp, he can "snare" it (painlessly) for biopsy.
5. Will it hurt? No, your colonoscopy will not hurt. During the entire 45-minute test, you will be positioned comfortably on your left side and will receive a sedative such as Valium to relax you. In fact, afterwards, you may have little or no memory of your procedure and must have a responsible adult drive you home.
6. When will I get results? Dr. Shivshanker reviews results right the procedure. Results from biopsies come in a few days.
7. How often should i get a colonoscopy? After a clear colonoscopy, your Houston gastroenterologist likely will advise getting one every ten years. If polyps were discovered, the interval may be shorter--every five years, for example. However, Dr. Shivshanker will tell you what's best for your unique case.
Other questions?Contact Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants with your concerns. The friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to help. Call (713) 777-2555 for the SW Highway office, and for the N Loop W location, phone (713) 880-8707.