More Colon Cancer Awareness Month

With screening, colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. That’s why on-time screening is essential and lifesaving. Cancer hasn’t stopped during #COVID, but the pandemic has created a new need and numerous challenges that are critical to address. With your support, we can end colorectal cancer in our lifetime. #GetScreened

About The Endoscopy Center at Gateway

Founded in 2007, The Endoscopy Center at Gateway is an outpatient surgical center specifically designed to provide endoscopic procedures in a comfortable and professional environment. This facility provides patients expanded services and convenient scheduling.

Led by Dr. Aman Ali and Dr. Charles Scrobola., this facility is accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care and Medicare certified. The Endoscopy Center at Gateway has been recognized by Becker’s ASC Review as 1 of the 36 GI & Endoscopy-Driven Surgery Centers to know.

We believe in providing the highest standard of medical and surgical care, along with compassion and understanding. The staff at the Endoscopy Center at Gateway, with over 50 years of combined gastroenterology experience, is committed to your good health. Our primary concern is your health and safety.

Our Procedures

COLONOSCOPY

What is a colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy enables your doctor to examine the lining of your large intestine (colon) for abnormalities by inserting a flexible tube as thick as your finger into your anus and slowly advancing it into the rectum and colon.  This instrument, called a colonoscope, has its own lens and light source and it allows your doctor to view images on a video monitor.

Why is colonoscopy recommended?

Colonoscopy may be recommended as a screening test for colorectal cancer.  Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.  Annually, approximately 150,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed in the United States and 50,000 people die from the disease.  It has been estimated that increased awareness and screening would save at least 30,000 lives each year.  Colonoscopy may also be recommended by your doctor to evaluate for symptoms such as bleeding and chronic diarrhea.

What preparations are required?

Your doctor will tell you what dietary restrictions to follow and what cleansing routine to use.  In general, the preparation consists of limiting your diet to clear liquids the day before and consuming either a large volume of a special cleansing solution or special oral laxatives.  The colon must be completely clean for the procedure to be accurate and comprehensive, so be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.

Should I continue my current medications?

Most medications can be continued as usual, but some medications can interfere with the preparation or the examination.  Inform your doctor about medications you’re taking, particularly aspirin products, arthritis medications, anticoagulants (blood thinners), Insulin or Iron products.  Also, be sure to mention allergies you have to medications.

Alert your doctor if you require antibiotics prior to dental procedures, because you might need antibiotics before a colonoscopy as well.

What happens during a colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is well-tolerated and rarely causes much pain.  You might feel pressure, bloating or cramping during the procedure.  Your doctor might give you a sedative to help you relax and better tolerant any discomfort.

You will lie on your side or back while your doctor slowly advances a colonoscope through your large intestine to examine the lining.  Your doctor will examine the lining again as he or she slowly withdraws the colonoscope.  The procedure itself usually takes 15 to 60 minutes, although you should plan on two to three hours for waiting, preparation, and recovery.

In some cases, the doctor cannot pass the colonoscope through the entire colon to where it meets the small intestine.  Although another examination might be needed, your doctor might decide that the limited examination is sufficient.

What if the colonoscopy shows something abnormal?

If your doctor thinks an area needs further evaluation, he or she might pass an instrument through the colonoscope to obtain a biopsy (a small sample of the colon lining) to be analyzed.  Biopsies are used to identify many conditions, and your doctor might order one even if he or she doesn’t suspect cancer.  If colonoscopy is being performed to identify sites of bleeding, your doctor might control the bleeding through the colonoscope by injecting medications or by coagulation (scaling of bleeding vessels with heat treatment).  Your doctor might also find polyps during colonoscopy, and he or she will most likely remove them during the examination.  The procedures don’t usually cause any pain.

What are polyps and why are they removed?

Polyps are abnormal growths in the colon lining that are usually benign (noncancerous).  They vary in size from a tiny dot to several inches.  Your doctor can’t always tell a benign polyp from a malignant (cancerous) polyp by its outer appearance, so he or she might send removed polyps for analysis.  Because cancer begins in polyps removing them is an important means of preventing colorectal cancer.

How are polyps removed?

Your doctor might destroy tiny polyps by fulguration (burning) or by removing them with wire loops called snares or with biopsy instruments.  Your doctor might use a technique called “snare polypectomy” to remove larger polyps.  That technique involves passing a wire loop through the colonoscope and removing the polyps from the intestinal wall using an electrical current.  You should feel no pain during the polypectomy.

What happens after a colonoscopy?

Your physician will explain the results of the examination to you, although you’ll probably have to wait for the results of any biopsies performed.

If you have been given sedatives during the procedure, someone must drive you home and stay with you.  Even if you feel alert after the procedure, your judgment and reflexes could be impaired for the rest of the day.  You might have some cramping and bloating because of the air introduced into the colon during the examination.  This should disappear quickly when you pass gas.

You should be able to eat after the examination, but your doctor might restrict your diet and activities, especially after polypectomy.

What are the possible complications of colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy and polypectomy are generally safe when performed by doctors who have specifically trained and are experienced in these procedures.

One possible complication is a perforation, or tear, through the bowel wall that could require surgery.  Bleeding might occur at the site of biopsy or polypectomy, but it’s usually minor.  Bleeding can stop on its own or be controlled through the colonoscope; it rarely requires follow-up treatment.  Some patients might have a reaction to the sedatives or complications from heart or lung disease.

Although complications after colonoscopy are uncommon, it’s important to recognize early signs of possible complications.  Contact your doctor if you notice severe abdominal pain, fever and chills, or rectal bleeding of more then one-half cup.  Note that bleeding can occur several days after the procedure.

Important Reminder:  This information is intended only to provide general guidance.  It does not provide definitive medical advice.  It is very important that you consult your doctor about your specific condition.

Source:  The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

FLEXIBLE SIGMOIDOSCOPY

What is a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy lets your doctor examine the lining of the rectum and a portion of the colon (large intestine) by inserting a flexible tube about the thickness of your finger into the anus and slowly advancing it into the rectum and lower part of the colon.

What preparation is required?

Your doctor will tell you what cleansing routine to use. In general, preparation consists of one or two enemas prior to the procedure but could include laxatives or dietary modifications as well. However, in some circumstances your doctor might advise you to forgo any special preparation. Because the rectum and lower colon must be completely empty for the procedure to be accurate, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.

Should I continue my current medications?

Most medications can be continued as usual. Inform your doctor about medications that you’re taking – particularly aspirin products or anticoagulants (blood thinners) – as well as any allergies you have to medications. Also, tell your doctor if you require antibiotics prior to dental procedures, because you might need antibiotics prior to sigmoidoscopy as well.

What can I expect during Flexible Sigmoidoscopy?

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy is usually well tolerated. You might experience a feeling of pressure, bloating or cramping during the procedure. You will lie on your side while your doctor advances the sigmoidoscope through the rectum and colon. As your doctor withdraws the instrument, your doctor will carefully examine the lining of the intestine.

What if the Flexible Sigmoidoscopy finds something abnormal?

If your doctor sees an area that needs further evaluation, your doctor might take a biopsy (sample of the colon lining) to be analyzed. Biopsies are used to identify many conditions, and your doctor might order one even if he or she doesn’t suspect cancer.

If your doctor finds polyps, he or she might take a biopsy of them as well. Polyps, which are growths from the lining of the colon, vary in size and types. Polyps known as “hyperplastic” might not be require removal, but benign polyps know as “adenomas” potentially pre-cancerous. Your doctor will likely ask you to have a colonoscopy (a complete examination of the colon) to remove any large polyps or any small adenomas.

What happens after a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy?

Your doctor will explain the results to you when the procedure is done. You might feel bloated or some mild cramping because of the air that was passed into the colon during the examination. This will disappear quickly when you pass gas. You should be able to eat and resume your normal activities after leaving your doctor’s office or the hospital.

What are possible complications of Flexible Sigmoidoscopy?

Flexible sigmoidoscopy and biopsy are safe when performed by doctors who are specially trained and experienced in these endoscopic procedures. Complications are rare, but it’s important for you to recognize early signs of possible complications. Contact your physician if you notice severe abdominal pain, fevers and chills, or rectal bleeding of more than one-half cup. Note that rectal bleedingcan occur several days after the biopsy.

UPPER GI ENDOSCOPY

What is an Upper Endoscopy?

Upper endoscopy lets your doctor examine the lining of the upper part of your gastrointestinal tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (first portion of the small intestine).  Your doctor will use a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope, which has its own lens and light source, and will view the images on a video monitor.  You might hear your doctor or other medical staff refer to upper endoscopy as upper GI endoscopy, esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) or panendoscopy.

Why is Upper Endoscopy done?

Upper endoscopy helps your doctor evaluate symptoms of persistent upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or difficulty swallowing. It’s an excellent test for finding the cause of bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract.  It’s also more accurate than x-ray films for detecting inflammation, ulcers, and tumors of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum.

Your doctor might use upper endoscopy to obtain a biopsy (small tissue samples).  A biopsy helps your doctor distinguish between benign and malignant (cancerous) tissues.  Remember, biopsies are taken for many reasons, and your doctor might order one even if he or she does not suspect cancer.  For example, your doctor might use a biopsy to test for Helicobacter Pylori, bacterium that causes ulcers.

Upper endoscopy is also used to treat conditions of the upper gastrointestinal tract.  Your doctor can pass instruments through the endoscope to directly treat many abnormalities with little or no discomfort.  For example, your doctor might stretch a narrowed area, remove polyps (usually benign growths), or treat bleeding.

How should I prepare for the procedure?

An empty stomach allows for the best and safest examination, so you should have nothing to eat or drink, including water, for approximately six hours before the examination.  Your doctor will tell you when to start fasting.

Tell your doctor in advance about any medications you take; you might need to adjust your usual dose for the examination.  Discuss any allergies to medications as well as medical conditions, such as heart or lung disease.

Alert your doctor if you require antibiotics prior to dental procedures, because you might need antibiotics prior to upper endoscopy as well.

What can I expect during upper endoscopy?

Your doctor might start by spraying your throat with a local anesthetic or by giving you a sedative to help you relax.  You’ll then lie on your side and your doctor will pass the endoscope through your mouth and into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum.  The endoscope doesn’t interfere with your breathing.  Most patients consider the test only slightly uncomfortable, and many patients fall asleep during the procedure.

What happens after the upper endoscopy?

You will be monitored until most of the effects of the medication have worn off.  Your throat might be a little sore, and you might feel bloated because of the air introduced into your stomach during the test.  You will be able to eat after you leave unless your doctor instructs otherwise.

Your doctor generally can tell you your test results on the day of your procedure; however, the results of some tests might take several days.

If you received sedatives, you won’t be allowed to drive after the procedure even though you might not feel tired.  You should arrange for someone to accompany you home because the sedatives might affect your judgment and reflexes for the rest of the day.

What are possible complications of upper endoscopy?

Although complications can occur, they are rare when doctors who are specially trained and experience in this procedure perform the test.  Bleeding can occur at a biopsy site or where a polyp was removed, but it’s usually minimal and rarely requires follow-up.  Other potential risks include a reaction to the sedative used, complications from heart or lung disease, and perforation (a tear in the gastrointestinal tract lining).  It is important to recognize early signs of possible complications.  If you have a fever after the test, trouble swallowing, or increasing throat, chest, or abdominal pain, tell your doctor immediately.

Important Reminder:  The preceding information is intended only to provide general information and not as a definitive basis for diagnosis or treatment in any particular case.  It is very important that you consult your doctor about your specific condition.

Source:  The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

Trending Stories