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, Dr. Margolin will usually
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
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.