Most of our colonoscopy and endoscopy procedures are scheduled in our Ambulatory Surgery Center located at 2807-2 Capital Medical Blvd, Tallahassee, FL 32308 although some procedures may be performed at Capital Regional Medical Center out of medical necessity.
You will be given detailed instructions for your procedure in advance. In some cases a staff member may direct you to download one of the prep instruction sheets listed below. These should only be used with the direction of your doctor or a staff member. Please call (850) 841-1166 and select option 3 if you have any questions about your prep.
Colonoscopy is the most common endoscopic procedure performed by gastroenterologists. The procedure involves visually inspecting the colon with a flexible videoscope. Colonoscopy is the gold-standard for colon cancer screening. Studies show that gastroenterologists are the most proficient at this procedure.
Why get a colonoscopy?
The primary reason to get a colonoscopy is to look for colorectal cancer or polyps. The American Cancer Society, the American College of Gastroenterologists, and the American Gastroenterological Association recommend routine colonoscopy for people aged 45 and older who have normal risk for colorectal cancer. If the person has a higher risk for colorectal cancer, then a doctor may recommend more frequent testing. Other reasons for a colonoscopy include:
- Bloody stool
- Rectal bleeding
- Unexpected weight loss
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Abdominal pain
What can a colonoscopy detect?
Colonoscopy is the only test that is both diagnostic and therapeutic for the entire colon. Therapeutic techniques include biopsies, polyp removal, and cautery of bleeding sites.
During a colonoscopy, the physician may remove growths, called polyps, for testing by a pathologist. While polyps are typically benign, most colorectal cancer begins as a polyp. Colonoscopy has been proven to significantly reduce a patient’s risk of colon cancer.
Upper Endoscopy, formally known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD for short, is a procedure that allows a gastroenterologist to evaluate a patient’s upper gastrointestinal tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum.
Why get an upper endoscopy?
There are a variety of reasons why your primary care physician or gastroenterologist might recommend an upper endoscopy. The most common reasons are:
- Gastroesophogeal reflux
- Upper abdominal pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Unexpected weight loss
What can an upper endoscopy detect?
Upper endoscopy allows for direct visualization of the lining of the upper gastrointestinal tract. This allows for detection of ulcers, inflammation, or other abnormalities.
Chronic gastroesophogeal reflux, or heartburn, may lead to changes in the lining of the esophagus, which has precancerous potential. In patients with longstanding heartburn, the ability to see the esophageal lining and to perform diagnostic biopsies is important in formulating a treatment plan.
Biopsies, or small tissue samples, can be taken to help diagnose problems and guide treatment. These samples are then sent to a pathologist for examination.
Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Overview
In many ways, a flexible sigmoidoscopy is like a colonoscopy however a flexible sigmoidoscopy only allows a gastroenterologist to see the left side of a patient’s colon, which includes the descending colon, sigmoid, and rectum. There may be certain instances where flexible sigmoidoscopy is preferred to colonoscopy.
Why get a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
Many of the reasons to get a colonoscopy overlap with the reasons to get a flexible sigmoidoscopy, which are:
- Rectal bleeding
- Anal fissure (a tear in the anus)
- Change in bowel habits
- Change in stool caliber
What can a flexible sigmoidoscopy detect?
A flexible sigmoidoscopy can detect causes of bleeding in the lower portion of the colon. Hemorrhoids are a common cause of bright red blood per rectum. In addition, anal fissures can cause blood per rectum. Flexible sigmoidoscopy plays an important role in ruling out other causes of bleeding. It is important to remember that flexible sigmoidoscopy does not look at the entire colon; therefore, colonoscopy may be recommended instead depending on the patient’s age and risk factors for colon cancer.