Michael Margolin, MD, FACP, FACG  
     
     
COLONOSCOPY
 
  What is Colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy allows Dr. Margolin to examine the lower digestive system with a video camera, without using X-rays. The purpose of the exam may be to learn more about the problem you may be experiencing or to look for colon polyps.
If a polyp is seen during the colonoscopy, an attempt will be made to remove it through the scope, without surgery.  The examination usually takes less than half an hour, and there is usually little or no discomfort.  Please plan on two to three hours total, including preparation and recovery.
 
What is a colon polyp?
It is an abnormal growth of tissue from the inner lining of the lower intestine. Most colon cancers start as benign  (noncancerous) polyps.  While most polyps will stay benign, there is strong evidence that removing colon polyps (polypectomy) will reduce the risk of future colon or rectal cancer.

How are polyps removed?

If a large polyp is discovered, Dr. Margolin may pass a thin wire loop through the scope to lasso the polyp.  Saline may be injected into the lining of the colon beneath the polyp.  The loop is tightened, and a tiny electric current is passed through the wire to cut off the polyp painlessly.  Smaller polyps may be removed with the wire loop without electricity, or with a flexible tweezer passed through the scope.  Biopsies of other areas that appear abnormal may be taken in the same way.  The specimens are retrieved through the scope and sent to the lab for microscopic examination by a pathologist.

What must I do?
The colon must be empty of any solid waste material, so you must avoid eating solid food prior to the exam.  You will be given detailed instructions regarding diet and laxatives.  It is important to drink lots of fluids with tablet or concentrated laxatives to avoid becoming dehydrated, but do not drink anything for 3 hours before the procedure.  You must stop medications that slow blood clotting (aspirin, arthritis type medications [Advil, etc.], Plavix, or Coumadin) unless Dr. Margolin has instructed you to continue these.  Because you will be given a strong sedative to keep you comfortable during the exam, you must bring a companion to escort you home.  Do not plan to drive or to make any major decisions the rest of the day after receiving the sedatives. Please arrive promptly for your appointment.  Late arrival may require canceling your appointment.

Will he tell me what he finds?

Yes.  As soon as the exam is over, he will tell you what he found.  If specimens are sent to the laboratory, final results may take up to a week.

Are there any possible complications?
The rare complications from colonoscopy and polypectomy (polyp removal) include perforation (rupture) of the colon, hemorrhage (bleeding) from the colon, and side effects from the medicines (sedatives) that are given.  In very rare circumstances, death could result from a complication.  Colonoscopy is the best test for examining the colon, but it is not perfect.  Rarely, something important may be missed.
Although complications after colonoscopy are uncommon, it’s important to recognize early signs of possible complications.  Contact Dr. Margolin if you have severe abdominal pain, fever and chills, or rectal bleeding of more than half a cup.

What if I have other questions?

Please call us.  We want you to feel comfortable about Colonoscopy and Polypectomy.  It is only through a relationship of mutual trust and respect that we can achieve our common goal – your good health.