During a colonoscopy exam, a thin flexible device with a camera attached to it (colonoscope) is inserted into the rectum, allowing your doctor to visualize the entire large intestine (rectum and colon). It is a test used in screening for colon cancer in patients who have no symptoms, as a tool to diagnose various conditions when there are symptoms present, or even to perform therapy (to remove pre-cancerous growths or as a treatment for a severe form of diarrhea).
This procedure is usually done with the assistance of anesthesia to ensure safety and comfort.
What It Helps:
A colonoscopy exam is used to detect any irregularities in the colon and rectum or investigate any symptoms or concerns of the patient. It may also allow for various therapies in the colon.
What Is A Screening?
Screenings are performed to look for a disease when a patient isn’t experiencing any symptoms, like cancer. A colonoscopy is a common screening test for colon cancer. The doctor is able to view the entire colon and rectum, and any associated changes or abnormalities.
Why Would I Need A Screening?
Regular screenings are key to preventing colorectal cancer. If any precancerous polyps are found, they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screenings can also identify colorectal cancer in its early stages, and can help in identifying the best course of treatment. Screenings are typically done every 10 years if no abnormalities are found and the patient doesn’t have an increased risk of colon cancer. Traditionally, screening for colon cancer begins at age 50 for both men and women. However, the American Center Society has recently recommended starting colon cancer screening at age 45. This is a new recommendation and some insurances may not cover screening colonoscopy until age 50. Any patient with a family history of colon cancer or colon polyps must start screening earlier than age 50 and is urged to discuss this with their physician.
What Is A Polypectomy?
A polypectomy is a procedure in which polyps, or abnormal tissue growths, are removed from the inside of the colon and large intestine during a colonoscopy.
Why Would I Need A Polypectomy?
When left untreated, polyps in the large intestine can occasionally cause blood loss, abnormalities in bowel movements, and abdominal pain. Polyps can also be precancerous and if left untreated, they can grow and develop into colon cancer. Performing a polypectomy can treat these symptoms and, in some cases, prevent colon cancer years later.
What Is A Biopsy?
During a biopsy, a piece of tissue or bodily fluid is sampled from an area of the body for closer examination. Biopsies are usually conducted when a doctor is led to believe that there may be an abnormality around the area in question. The removed tissue is sent to a lab for analysis.
Why Would I Need A Biopsy?
Typically, biopsies are most helpful for detecting abnormalities in the lining of the digestive tract. Areas of inflammation, infection, or even digestive cancers can be diagnosed with a biopsy. After conducting a biopsy, a problem can be easier to diagnose and an accurate treatment plan can be put into place going forward.
- Fecal Transplant
What Is a Fecal Transplant?
During a fecal transplant, a doctor transplants feces from a healthy donor into another person to restore the balance of bacteria in their gut. In most procedures, a doctor will transplant the donor feces to the recipient through a colonoscope, which is a small flexible tube that is inserted into the colon through the rectum.
Why Would I Need A Fecal Transplant?
A fecal transplant from a healthy donor encourages the recipient’s body to grow healthful bacteria, which can cure a dangerous intestinal infection (clostridium difficile). As your gut is home to millions of bacteria, an imbalance can cause symptoms like diarrhea and other intestinal problems.