Colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure that enables your doctor to see inside your large bowel, or colon, to check for the presence of tumors or polyps. The procedure is performed while you're sedated and uses a flexible tube called a colonoscope to evaluate the lining of your colon. The colonoscope features a tiny camera that projects images from inside your colon onto a viewing screen. One of the benefits of colonoscopy is that if a small tumor or polyp is found, it can be easily removed during the colonoscopy procedure without the need for an additional procedure. Growths that are removed are sent off to a lab for examination to determine the presence of cancerous cells, making colonoscopy a powerful tool for diagnosing colon cancer, even in its early stages.
In order to visualize the lining of the colon, your bowel must be completely empty and clean prior to your procedure. To prepare for your colonoscopy, you'll need to drink a special preparation prescribed by your doctor to empty the bowel and irrigate your colon. Most medications can be taken as usual, although you should discuss your medications including vitamin supplements with your doctor in advance so any necessary dosing changes can be made. Anticoagulants, iron supplements, aspirin, blood thinners, insulin and some arthritis medications may require modification in dosing before your procedure. Also be sure to tell your doctor if you have a pacemaker.
General guidelines recommend a colonoscopy beginning at age 50 and then every five years afterward. However, if you're at risk for colon cancer, including having a close family member who was diagnosed with the disease, you should be screened earlier and more often. Dr. Lai can determine the ideal schedule for you based on your health history.
Below is a short list of the insurance plans we accept. If you do not see your insurance on the list, feel free to call our office. We also offer very reasonable discounted packages for patients who do not have insurance coverage.