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  • The Miriam Hospital Colonoscopy Patient Guide

  • For our patients
    This section provides answers to the questions most commonly asked by our patients and will help familiarize you with what will happen before, during and after your procedure.

    A colonoscopy is a procedure that enables a physician to examine a patient's colon by inserting a colonoscope, (a flexible, lighted tube) into the patient's rectum. A colonoscopy allows a physician to identify and evaluate abnormalities such as inflamed tissue, abnormal growths and polyps, ulcers, bleeding and possible causes for diarrhea, constipation and/or abdominal pain. A colonoscopy is also used to screen for colon cancer.

    How to Prepare for Your Colonoscopy

    Your physician's office will give you special instructions to prepare you for your procedure. If you have questions about the instructions, please contact your physician's office. It is important that you follow the instructions to ensure an adequate study.

    Prior to your procedure, please let your physician know if you are taking insulin, iron or blood thinners such as Coumadin, aspirin or aspirin-like products. Please let your physician know if you require antibiotics prior to dental examinations, since you might need antibiotics prior to your colonoscopy.

    On the day of your procedure, please bring a list of the prescribed and over-the-counter medications you are currently taking.

    The Day of the Colonoscopy

    On the day of your procedure, please bring a list of the prescribed and over-the-counter medications you are currently taking.

    The time you will be instructed to arrive at The Miriam Hospital will be one to one and-a-half hours prior to the time of your exam. This is to allow time for registration and for the preparations necessary for your exam. When you arrive at The Miriam, please report to the admitting office located in the hospital's main lobby. From there, you will be instructed to go to the registration desk where you will check in. You will then be escorted to the pre-endoscopy unit. A nurse will greet you and prepare you for your procedure. You must arrange for someone to drive you home.

    What to expect during the exam

    Before your exam begins, you will be given pain medication and a mild sedative to keep you comfortable and relaxed throughout the exam. During the colonoscopy, you will lay on your left side. The physician will insert the colonoscope into your anus and slowly glide it into your colon. You may be asked to change positions to help the physician move the scope. Because the scope uses air to inflate your colon during the procedure, you may feel bloated and/or have cramps during the procedure.

    A colonoscopy usually takes 15 to 60 minutes, but please plan to be at the hospital for 3 to 4 hours to allow time for preparation and recovery. Family members may wait in the waiting area or they may leave their phone number and the recovery nurse will call them when you are ready to be discharged from the hospital.

    After the Procedure: What to Expect

    After your procedure, you will be taken to a recovery area. Many people do not recall the procedure because of the effect of the medication. You will probably feel drowsy and you may sleep for a short time. You may still feel bloated after your exam.

    Due to the sedative you are given prior to the exam, you might not remember speaking with your physician after the exam. Once you are ready to be discharged from the hospital, the recovery nurse will give you written instructions to follow. You must arrange for someone to drive you home.

    The day after your procedure, a nurse will call you to make sure you did not experience problems after your exam. If your procedure is performed on a Friday, you will receive a phone call the following Monday.

    For more information please call the physician who will be performing your colonoscopy. Find your physician's office number >