Why Is it Important to Get Routine Colonoscopies?


Are you aware that the five-year survival rate for those with colon cancer is 90% when the condition is caught and treated in the early stage of its progression? In terms of detecting colon cancer and additional colorectal concerns, colonoscopy has garnered a distinction within the gastroenterology community as the most effective, dependable process.

The experienced practitioners at GastroArkansas commonly provide colonoscopy screenings for patients throughout our community. Continue reading as our Little Rock, AR digestive health team explains the imperative role colonoscopies have in preserving your gastrointestinal health.

Who should have a colonoscopy?

Periodic colonoscopies are advised for people 45 years of age or older. Patients who are younger may be advised to get screened for cancer should one or more of the following criteria apply:

  • Your family health includes colon cancer or polyps
  • You have a form of inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBD) (like ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease)
  • You have signs or symptoms that are connected with colon cancer, such as:
    • Constipation
    • Diarrhea
    • Blood in your stool
    • Abdominal discomfort
    • Unintentional weight loss

It's important to understand that the symptoms mentioned here are also seen with other digestive health issues, making it crucial to have a colonoscopy screening to analyze your gastrointestinal symptoms and health. Get in touch with GastroArkansas to find out more concerning other health issues that may be discovered with a colonoscopy procedure.

How long does a colonoscopy take to complete?

In most instances, the colonoscopy process commonly takes a few hours, from preparation to recovery. You should plan to arrive at your colonoscopy doctor's facility or endoscopy center in Little Rock, AR 60 – 90 minutes before your scheduled procedure. This will allow you extra time to fill out any required forms and put on a medical gown. Afterward, the staff will show you to the procedure room, where the medical staff will begin administering sedation to keep you relaxed and at ease throughout the colonoscopy procedure.

In general, a routine colonoscopy procedure can take 15 – 30 minutes. Your doctor will carefully insert the colonoscope (a flexible, probe-attached video camera) into your rectum, incrementally advancing it into the large intestine (colon) and monitoring the video feed for any abnormalities. In the event colorectal polyps are detected during the colonoscopy, your gastrointestinal specialist may take the opportunity to remove them at this time.

Following the procedure, you will be given time to relax in a recovery area to allow the effects of the sedation to dissipate. This may take up to an hour, depending on the quantity of sedation used and your reaction to it. You may still be lethargic for the rest of the day, so plan ahead to have a friend or family member drive you home. It's also important to avoid anything strenuous or filling out any important documents during recovery. You will be provided with a report detailing your exam results and can expect to hear from your GI doctor regarding any biopsy results generally within about seven days.

Colonoscopies are a marginal investment in time for the diagnostic advantages they offer. To hear more about what to expect when undergoing a colonoscopy exam, please connect with a GastroArkansas location within your community to meet with a board-certified specialist who offers colonoscopies in Little Rock, AR.

Are there any colonoscopy risks I should consider?

There is a minor chance that some indications or issues (including colon or rectal growths) might not be immediately evident in your colonoscopy exam. It's extremely important to reach out to your GI specialist and tell them of any new or persisting concerns.

Further possible risks of a colonoscopy involve perforation of the colon, adverse reaction to the sedation, or bleeding (in the event any growths are extracted). It's important to keep in mind, however, that less than 1% of colonoscopy exams incur complications, the majority of which are not severe. Should you have any concerns or questions about the potential risks associated with a colonoscopy, our GastroArkansas providers will be happy to go over those with you.

Connect with a colonoscopy doctor in Little Rock, AR

Given that colorectal cancer rates are trending upward among the younger adult population, the value of receiving a colonoscopy to preserve your digestive health cannot be overemphasized. If you are 45 years old or older or have an elevated risk of developing colon or rectal cancer, contact the gastroenterologists at GastroArkansas to request a consultation for a colonoscopy. Take charge of your digestive health and reach out to our Little Rock, AR practice today.