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What Type of Doctor Performs a Colonoscopy?

what type of doctor performs a colonoscopy

As you get older, your care team will likely consist of many types of practitioners. You may need a urologist, a cardiologist, and an endocrinologist. You will undoubtedly need a gastroenterologist to be a part of your team when it’s time to start getting colonoscopies.

A colonoscopy is a visual examination of your colon and rectum. It is the most accurate and reliable colon cancer screening tool available.

Everyone needs a colonoscopy starting at the age of 45. But some people may need to start earlier or have them more frequently, especially if you have risk factors like:

  • a family history of colon polyps
  • a family history of cancer
  • a personal history of colon polyps
  • a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Each of these factors heightens the risk of developing cancer of the colon and rectum, which is known as colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer involves the lower part of the body’s digestive system.

What Type of Doctor Performs a Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is usually performed by a gastroenterologist.

A gastroenterologist is a doctor who specializes in taking care of the digestive system. Your digestive system includes the following:

  • mouth
  • esophagus
  • stomach
  • pancreas
  • liver
  • gallbladder
  • small and large intestine
  • rectum
  • anus

Gastroenterologists are experts in treating digestive system diseases and conditions. They perform screening and diagnostic colonoscopies.

A screening colonoscopy can be lifesaving. It is used to detect and remove precancerous growths called polyps early on before they become cancer.

The primary goal of a diagnostic colonoscopy is to identify and evaluate symptoms like:

  • unexplained changes in bowel habits
  • abdominal pain
  • rectal bleeding
  • unexplained weight loss

During both a screening and diagnostic colonoscopy, any suspicious areas can often be biopsied immediately by the gastroenterologist. Polyps can sometimes be completely removed during the procedure as well, eliminating the need for surgical intervention at a later date.

How Is a Colonoscopy Performed?

Before the colonoscopy, you will undergo a thorough bowel preparation to ensure your colon is free of digested food and that the lining is visible. Preparing for a colonoscopy properly is essential to ensure good visibility of the colon lining. The colonoscopy preparation process involves following a specific regimen to ensure the colon is clear of waste. You will be asked to follow a restricted diet, typically liquid-based, leading up to the procedure.

During the procedure, mild sedation is administered for your comfort and safety. As the colonoscope is gently advanced through the colon, it relays high-definition images to a monitor, providing the gastroenterologist with a detailed view of your colon’s interior.

If any suspicious areas, like polyps, are detected, your gastroenterologist can remove them or take biopsy samples using specialized instruments introduced through the colonoscope.

Once the examination is complete, the colonoscope is withdrawn.

Your vitals and recovery from sedation are closely monitored before you are cleared to leave and recover at home.

What Should I Ask My Gastroenterologist Before My Colonoscopy?

Gastroenterologists are experts with extensive training. They are dedicated to ensuring you have a complete understanding of your procedure. Feel free to inquire about any aspect of your colonoscopy, including the preparation process.

It’s natural to have questions or feel slightly apprehensive, but don’t let these feelings hold you back – either from asking your gastroenterologist or scheduling your appointment.

While the thought of having a colonoscopy might seem intimidating, many find it more manageable than anticipated.

Don’t delay your lifesaving care – schedule a colonoscopy today!


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