Just like with any invasive procedures, preparation is of high importance. The patient for colonoscopy is given instructions that the colon must be completely empty for the procedure to go smoothly and safely. The patient will also be instructed to be on liquid diet for 1 to 3 days before the procedure. The liquid in the diet must be clear and must not include anything that has coloring. Some of the permitted liquids are water, broth, fruit juice, plain tea, plain coffee, gelatin and diet soda.
The patient will also be given a cleansing enema the night before the procedure. This is to ensure that the bowel is thoroughly cleaned and is empty. It will also be part of the preparation to ask to bring somebody with the patient to drive him or her home since he or she will not be allowed to drive home or perform any activity that requires focus, attention and alertness.
During the procedure, the patient will be given pain medications and sedatives to lessen the discomfort he or she may experience. There will also be a nurse around to monitor the vital signs and signs of discomfort so that the medical team can make the necessary adjustments. The patient will be on a left side-lying position. Once everything is ready, the doctor then inserts the colonoscope.
The procedure takes about 30 to 60 minutes depending on what the doctor sees and decides on. The patient will feel less discomfort with the help of the sedatives given earlier. After the procedure, a sensation of cramping and the sensation of having gas will be present and this will last 1 hour at most. The patient will then be asked to stay for another hour or two in the room to let the sedative wear off.