Most people with colon cancer have no symptoms, so it is important to have a regularly scheduled screening colonoscopy to ensure your health. Colonoscopies offer a safe, effective means of visually examining the full lining of the colon and rectum to diagnose colon and rectal problems. At TCRS, we are experts in screening, diagnostic and therapeutic colonoscopies. Removing any polyps during the colonoscopy will help prevent colon cancer. Our colorectal specialists have performed over 8,000 of these procedures every single year.

According to the American Cancer Society, the number of deaths from colorectal cancer has decreased over the past 20 years, primarily due to the increased number of screenings and polyp removal. If you are 50 or older, or have a family history of colorectal disease, it is time for a colonoscopy.

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Why a colorectal specialist is your ideal colonoscopy doctor

A colonoscopy can be performed by either a gastroenterologist or a colorectal physician. What are the advantages of having your colonoscopy performed by a TCRS colorectal specialist? If you have a family history that puts you at high risk for colon cancer, it is prudent to entrust your colonoscopy to a colorectal expert. All TCRS specialists are certified by the American Board of Colon & Rectal Surgery, the governing body of the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons. The ASCRS is the premier society for surgeons specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of colon and rectal disorders. As board-certified surgeons, TCRS physicians not only have proficiency in the field of general surgery, but they have also completed the most advanced training in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of colon and rectal diseases and disorders.

By having the colonoscopy performed by a colorectal specialist, you place yourself in the most qualified hands from the very beginning. Typically, our TCRS colorectal specialists perform what is known as a high-resolution colonoscopy. This advanced procedure detects smaller polyps and other changes in the lining of the colon. The colorectal specialist then removes these growths.

Top reasons for colonoscopy procedures

As the experts, our colon & rectal specialists perform colonoscopies for three main reasons: screening, diagnostic and therapeutic.

Screening Colonoscopy. “Screening” simply means being tested for a disease, even if no symptoms are present. A screening colonoscopy is the best method for early detection of polyps and colon cancer.

Other colorectal disorders can also be diagnosed during a screening colonoscopy. Colorectal disorders are easier to treat when detected early and the need for more complex procedures may be reduced.
Frequently, polyps are removed during this colonoscopy, a major step towards the prevention of colon cancer. Polyps are abnormal growths of cells in the lining of the colon or rectum and are a common condition, affecting 15 to 20 percent of the adult population. Our thorough colorectal specialists have a rate of polyp discovery and removal that is significantly higher than the national average.

Diagnostic Colonoscopy. A colonoscopy may also be necessary to “diagnose” or check for the cause of unexplained abdominal and rectal symptoms, inflammatory bowel disease, verify findings of polyps or tumors located during other types of exams, or monitor patients with a past history of colon polyps or cancer.

Virtual Colonoscopy (VC) produces two- and three-dimensional images of the colon using a CAT scan, or with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Like the traditional high-resolution colonoscopy, patients still require a mechanical bowel preparation to remove solid stool and a period of time on a clear liquid diet. During a virtual colonoscopy, a tube is inserted into the rectum and air is pumped into the colon. Sedation is not typically provided for this procedure.

Therapeutic Colonoscopy. The process of removing polyps or treating other issues during a colonoscopy is “therapeutic”. Our colorectal physicians prefer the high-resolution colonoscopy to the virtual colonoscopy for several reasons. One distinct advantage of a traditional colonoscopy is that any abnormal cells (polyps) can be removed immediately as part of the procedure. A high-resolution colonoscopy also detects smaller polyps and other changes in the lining of the colon. If the virtual procedure detects such growths, the patient must still undergo a traditional colonoscopy to have the growths removed. This causes the patient to undergo two preparations and procedures.

What You Should Expect

Most colonoscopies are outpatient procedures with minimal inconvenience and discomfort. Normally, sedation is given for the exam unless requested otherwise by you, the patient. Because of the sedation, you will need someone to drive you home after the exam. We can provide a list of transportation services, should you have the need.

Using a long, flexible, tubular instrument with a camera in it (colonscope), your colon and rectal specialist is able to diagnose problems, perform biopsies, and detect and remove most polyps without abdominal surgery. The removal of polyps is a major step towards preventing colorectal cancer.

Interested in learning more about Colonoscopy? Check out our TCRS video resource guide on colonoscopies by clicking here, or take a look at the colonoscopy patient education video from the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons by clicking here.

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