What is the purpose of a Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is performed to check for diseases of the colon, such as colitis or cancer, and to remove colon polyps.

  • A polyp is a mushroom-like growth on the inside wall of the colon or rectum.
  • Polyps grow slowly over many years.
  • Some polyps become cancerous, and others do not.

A colonoscopy is also a safe and helpful procedure to look at health issues in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, such as:

  • Belly pain that won't go away
  • Rectal pain that won't go away
  • Blood in your stool
  • Change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea (loose stool), that won't go away
  • Inflamed (swollen) colon that is seen on a computerized tomography (CT) scan

During a colonoscopy, tools can be passed through the colonoscope, which is a long, thin and flexible tube with a tiny camera and a light on the end, to painlessly remove a suspicious-looking growth or to biopsy (take a small tissue sample).


To properly prepare for your procedure, you may need to make certain changes to your daily medication routine.

  • If you take insulin, consult with your physician about making any necessary changes in your daily regimen.
  • If you take medications that contain aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Motrin, Advil, Indocin), we recommend that you stop taking them 7 days before your procedure. They may increase your risk of bleeding after removal of a polyp or a biopsy during your colonoscopy by interfering with the normal clotting of your blood.
  • If you are currently taking Coumadin, Xarelto, Plavix, Eliquis or any other blood thinner, you must check with your prescribing physician before changing or interrupting your daily routine.
  • Certain medications should be continued prior to your colonoscopy. If you take cardiac (heart) or anti-hypertensive (high blood pressure) pills, take them as you normally do with small sips of water.
  • Bring a lit of all your medications (prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and eye drops) with you on the day of your procedure. You may bring the medication bottles themselves.
  • Be prepared to list and describe your allergies and reactions to any medications.
  • Because you will receive a relaxing medication during your procedure, you must arrange to have a responsible adult pick you up and/or accompany you home if you will take public transportation. You may not operate an automobile or other mechanical equipment until the day following your procedure.

Bowel Preparation

Bowel preparation (cleansing) is needed to perform effective colonoscopy. Any stool that is left in the colon can hide polyps and small cancers, and result in the need to repeat the colonoscopy. Therefore, it is critical that you follow the instructions as directed.

You will receive instructions from your doctor regarding the necessary bowel preparation to get you ready for your exam. Most patients will be on clear liquids the entire day or occasionally several days before the exam. There are several different options for laxatives to entirely clean out the colon. It is very important to follow the instructions given to you by your doctor.

Simply click on the name of the laxative (chosen by your doctor) below for instructions on using it:

OsmoPrep Instructions

SuPrep Instructions

SuPrep instructions (ESPANOL)

Trilyte Instructions

Trilyte Instructions (ESPANOL)

The Day of Your Procedure

On the day of your colonoscopy, plan to spend several hours at the unit to allow time for your preparation, procedure, and recovery.

Before the procedure, a nurse will greet you and assist with changing into a hospital gown. An IV will be placed in your arm. You will receive relaxing medications through the IV during the procedure. You will be lying on your left side during the colonoscopy. Once adequately sedated, the colonoscope will be passed through your entire colon (approximately 3 feet). A small amount of air is injected through the scope into the colon to help the physician see. Any fluid remaining in the colon after the preparation can be washed and suctioned out through the scope. Depending on the findings of the exam, several things can be done at the time of the procedure including biopsies, removal of polyps, and control of bleeding. The procedure takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes to complete.


After the colonoscopy, you will be taken to the recovery area where you will be monitored until most of the effects of the relaxing medication have worn off. You may have some cramping or bloating as a result of the procedure.

You will not be allowed to drive for the rest of the day; therefore, you will need to arrange for a ride home. You will also be instructed not to work, sign important papers, or perform strenuous activities for the rest of the day. Most patients are able to eat and drink normally after their discharge from the Endoscopy unit; however, specific instructions regarding activity, eating, and medications will be given to the patient prior to discharge.

If a large polyp is removed, you may be asked to stay on a liquid diet for 24 hours. In addition, you will be given specific instructions regarding when it is safe to resume certain medications such as NSAID's (Ibuprofen, Motrin, Aleve, etc) and blood thinners.

You should call the office at (714) 778-1300 to schedule a follow-up appointment within 2 weeks of your appointment. The results of the procedure and the follow-up plan will be discussed at the follow-up visit.

For additional information, click on the link below to view a PDF created by the A.G.A. for this procedure.