Getting a colonoscopy is one of the most important things older adults 50 years and above can do to prevent colon cancer and ensure early treatment if colon cancer does develop.
Gastroenterology Associates understands the importance of having a skilled, experienced gastroenterologist perform a colonoscopy, which is why we work to provide the most expert colonoscopies in Baton Rouge.
Purpose of Colonoscopy
Colon cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in the United States, especially among adults over the age of 50 and certain other at-risk populations. The purpose of a colonoscopy is to detect precancerous polyps and early cases of colon cancer. Colon cancer is usually preceded by the growth of benign polyps which have the potential to become cancerous later on. These polyps usually cause no symptoms, and removing them can prevent cancer from developing.
Colon cancer is most treatable when it is detected and treating as early as possible. However, most early cases of colon cancer do not cause any symptoms. Colonoscopy facilitates the early detection and treatment of cancer, and is associated with lower rates of death from colon cancer.
The Difference an Expert Makes
The research is clear: colonoscopy can be life-saving, but the skill and experience of the doctor performing the procedure makes a huge difference. Numerous studies indicate that outcomes are better at clinics that do a high volume of colonoscopies each year. At Gastroenterology Associates, our experienced physicians perform hundreds of colonoscopies each year.
Studies also indicate that more experienced gastroenterologists have a higher cecal intubation rate, or a higher rate of successfully examining the whole colon. Cecal intubation refers to reaching the end of the colon during the exam, which a more experienced gastroenterologist is most likely to achieve. More experienced doctors are also associated with:
• Higher rates of identifying small, difficult to detect precancerous polyps
• Lower chance of developing cancer after a colonoscopy due to missed polyps
• Lower chance of side effects from the procedure
In contrast, generalists tend to provide less effective and comprehensive colonoscopy.
What to Expect During Colonoscopy
Colonoscopy is often an anxiety-producing procedure, which leads many individuals to put off recommended screenings. Gastroenterology Associates understands this which is why we work to maintain the dignity and privacy of each patient.
Colonoscopy is performed in a private room, and the staff will work to make sure that you are as covered and comfortable as possible throughout the procedure.
Most patients choose to be placed under local anesthesia /sedation during the procedure, which prevents them from feeling or remembering the procedure. When performed by a skilled physician, the procedure should be pain-free even without the use of sedation.
If you had a previous colonoscopy experience with pain or inadequate sedation, please be reassured that Gastroenterology Associates have the sedation and trained staff to monitor you during the procedure, to make it a safe and pain-free experience.
All of our physicians are board certified gastroenterologists. This means that we are all extremely experienced in performing colonoscopies. We are also well-equipped to treat any condition that may be identified during a colonoscopy, including but not limited to:
• Ulcerative colitis
• Crohn's disease
Gastroenterology Associates can also perform further diagnostic services, such as upper endoscopy, when necessary. In contrast, doctors who are not gastroenterologists may not be able to perform these additional procedures if necessary. General practitioners also may not be able to provide medical treatment or follow-up if an abnormality is diagnosed during the procedure (colitis, Crohn’s or stricture, etc.) and would then have to refer the abnormal findings to gastroenterologists.
Our services and specialty testing tools include:
• Capsule endoscopy
• Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
• Hemorrhoidal banding
• Lab tests
• CT scan
• Endoscopic ultrasound (we are the only outpatient center in Louisiana to offer this procedure)
All of these services are performed under one roof in our cutting-edge outpatient clinic, so that you can get all the care you need at one location.
Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the consultative advice and experienced feedback from your physician. Always consult with your physicians on any of your questions and concerns.