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A colonoscopy is an examination technique that allows your doctor to look at the inner lining of your large intestine (colon & rectum). It is used to detect and identify polyps, abnormal tissue growths on the wall of the colon. If a polyp is left untreated, it can develop into colon cancer. The test is minimally invasive and is performed using a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope.
At the UVM Medical Center, our team provides a full range of endoscopic procedures using the latest technological advances to accurately diagnose colon related conditions.
Colonoscopy at UVM Medical Center: Our Approach
The specialists that treat colorectal conditions are all trained in the most advanced technology available for both diagnosis and treatment. We have many years of experience working with patients who have colon or rectal issues.
As a university hospital, our surgeons are also researchers and educators. When our researchers and academic practitioners work in affiliation with the University of Vermont, we are able to provide patients with leading-edge treatments and resources.
Who Should Get a Colonoscopy
Nearly 75% of all colon cancer cases occur in individuals with no known medical risk factors. This is a major reason why colon cancer screenings are important. Patients who should get a colonoscopy include people who:
- Are over the age of 50
- Have a family history of colon cancer
- Have a family history of bowel diseases, such as:
- Have changes in their bowel habits, such as:
Preparing for Your Colonoscopy
In order to ensure a good view, a clean colon is required. If there is any waste inside the colon when the exam is performed, the physician may not be able to see the colon surface clearly. This can reduce the accuracy of the colonoscopy.
Cleaning the colon is a process commonly known as a “bowel prep” or “colon prep” and takes 1 to 2 days. Your physician will discuss options with you and help you understand the steps required for a colon prep, as well as the importance of finishing every step of the process.
For many patients, the colon prep is worse than the actual test. It may be uncomfortable and you may feel hungry while on a clear liquid diet. You should plan on staying home during your prep since you’ll have to use the bathroom often. The colon prep causes loose, frequent stools and diarrhea so that your colon will be empty for the test.
If recommended by your physician, you may be required to drink a special solution as part of your colon prep. This solution may have a salty or unpleasant taste, so it’s important to have clear fruit juices to drink after the solution.
Colon Prep Tips
- Use Vaseline or Desitin to protect the skin on your bottom prior to starting your prep
- Cool the prep liquid by putting it in the refrigerator
- Drink the preparation liquid through a straw
- Suck on a popsicle before and after drinking the solution
- Drink at least 8 ounces of clear liquids every hour while awake
- Stay close to a bathroom once you begin the prep (it may take a few hours for the prep liquid to begin working)
- If you vomit while drinking the prep liquid, stop for one hour and then resume
Downloadable PDF Resource Documents
Colonoscopy - How We Compare
At the UVM Medical Center, our doctors are dedicated to providing you with the best care possible. We perform over 8,500 colonoscopies per year using the latest technologies so that you are as comfortable as possible.