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Colonoscopy Images - with scope

During the Procedure

If you have not already done so, you will have an opportunity to discuss this procedure with your physician or nurse. You will be asked if you are allergic to any medications. At this time, if applicable, also inform the nurse if there is a possibility of pregnancy. An Intravenous solution (I.V.) will be started in your arm and medication will be given to help your relax and become drowsy.

When you are properly relaxed, the colonoscope will be inserted into your rectum and advanced through your colon (see diagram). You may experience some abdominal cramping as this is done and taking slow deep breaths will help you to relax. When the Colonoscopy begins you will be lying on your left side, occasionally you may be asked to turn onto your back or your right side. You will be assisted by the nurse during the procedure. Often a biopsy (tiny bit of tissue) may be taken for microscopic examination. You will feel no discomfort when the biopsy is taken. A polypectomy may also be performed, this is the removal of a small growth (polyp) which protrudes from the wall of your colon. The specimens are sent to the laboratory for examination by the Pathologist. Reports are usually available after one week and you will be notified by either mail or by phone. If blood work is required, please complete at least 2 days prior to your procedure.

On the day prior to your procedure, you will need to follow a CLEAR LIQUID DIET.

1. This will consist of clear fruit juices (apple, grape, cranberry) no citrus juices

2. Jell-O (no red color); popsicle; sherbet

3. Coffee, tea, soft drinks, Gatorade, chicken broth and water. 

NO DAIRY PRODUCTS. You will be advised to follow a specific set of "procedure preparation instructions"

In order for the colonoscopy to be done, the colon must be clean with no stool present. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you follow the selected preparation instructions as recommended above:

The Day of Your Procedure

Nothing to eat or drink after midnight.

If you have any questions regarding your prep or the procedure please call our office at:

(281) 440-0101 ext 1151 

After the colonoscope is removed, your vital signs will be monitored in a recovery area for approximately one hour. Our physician will then discuss the results of the procedure with you and a family member.

YOU MUST HAVE SOMEONE TO DRIVE YOU HOME as the medication given will not allow you to drive for 12 hours. 

Due to the after effects of the sedation you are advised:

  • Not to return back to work the day of your procedure
  • Not to operate any machinery (including kitchen equipment)
  • Not to drink any alcohol for at least 12 hours following the test

If a polyp is removed, the electro-cautery device used may create tenderness which takes 3 to 5 days to heal. 

During this time please avoid:

  • Strenuous activity
  • Aspirin and aspirin containing products
  • Travel

Bloating and distension typically occur for approximately an hour after the exam until the air is expelled. Serious risks with colonoscopy, however, are very uncommon. One such risk is excessive bleeding, especially with removal of a large polyp. In rare instances, a tear in the lining of the colon can occur. These complications may require hospitalization and, rarely surgery. You may develop swelling and/or redness at the site of the I.V. where the sedation was given. Apply a warm compress to the area to reduce discomfort. Please notify us if this develops.

When you return home, you may resume your regular diet unless directed otherwise. You may also plan to return to regular activities on the next day.

After your procedure, a detailed copy of "discharge instructions" will be given to you. Please contact our office to speak to a nurse or physician in case of any problems.

Polyp descriptions infographic

Colonoscopy FAQ's

Q:  Do I need to stop my prescription blood thinner prior to my procedure??

A:  Yes, prescription blood thinners must be stopped at least 5 days prior to the procedure. Please contact your cardiologist or prescribing physician and advise them that you are scheduled for an endoscopic procedure and must stop this medication. Your cardiologist may prescribe an alternative medication while you are off of these medications. Aspirin (81 mg & 325 mg) is ok to continue up to the day before the procedure.

Q:  Can I take my routine medications the day prior to my procedure while I am prepping?

A:  Yes, you can continue all routine medications as directed up to the day prior to your procedure. If you are an insulin dependent diabetic patient, please reduce your insulin to 1/3 your normal dose the day before your procedure, while you are on the liquid diet.

Q:  Can I take my medication the morning of my procedure?

A:  The only medication you may take the morning of your procedure is your heart and/or blood pressure medication and with only a sip of water to assist you in swallowing the medication.

Q:  What is a clear liquid diet?

 A:  A clear liquid diet is a diet that consists of liquids that are clear, meaning you can see through them. In this type of diet, you aren't limited to colorless liquids such as Sprite or Ginger Ale; you are limited to liquids that are clear of any substance such a pulp or tidbits of fruit, bits of meat, or dairy products. Example: apple juice has color, yet is still clear and ok to consume, on the other hand milk is a liquid but you can not see through it therefore it is not allowed. The word “clear” in the liquid diet you will follow during your prep does not refer to the color of the liquid. Therefore, soda products are not limited to Sprite, 7Up and Ginger Ale. You can consume any flavor of soda, juice, Jell-O, or popsicle with the exception of those that contain red, purple or blue color additives. The only exception to the “clear” rule on your diet is Sherbet. Sherbet is a frozen mixture of fruit juice and sugar, which both ingredients are allowed on this diet.

Q:  How much do I owe the facility, anesthesiologist, and/or pathologist?

A:  Facility fees are separate from the quote you were provided for physician fees. The facility is Memorial Hermann North Houston Endoscopy and Surgery Center and you will have to contact the facility directly to discuss any associated fees at 281-440-5797, extension 4100.  Anesthesia and Pathology are billed to your insurance after the procedure, therefore you will not be asked to pay anything for these services prior to your procedure. Anesthesia is billed to your insurance based on how many units of anesthesia where used to sedate you during your procedure and Pathology is billed to your insurance based on how many biopsies were taken and sent to the lab for analysis. Due to both services being patient and quantity specific there is no way to quote or estimate a price prior to the procedure.

Colonoscopy - Don't Sweat the Prep

Helpful Tips for Colon Preps

  • Mix colon prep and place in freezer (keep an eye on it because you do not want it to freeze). Patient feedback shows the prep is easier to drink when it is extremely cold and/or slushy.

  • Add Crystal Light Flavor packs to each cup of colon prep you drink (do not add flavor to the jug). You can add as many packs as you need to achieve desired taste.  You can choose any flavor you like except those that contain red and/or purple coloring. It is suggested that you have several flavors available while prepping, in case you get tired of one flavor you can switch it up! Patient feedback shows Lemonade and Pink Lemonade are the best flavors to help mask the taste.

  • Drink the colon prep with a straw. The tip of the tongue contains your salty/sweet taste buds and if you drink the prep without a straw, the "salty" in the colon prep will be the first thing you taste with each sip. The middle part of the tongue contains less taste buds and is the optimal area to place the straw to reduce the undesirable taste.

  • Use wet wipes/baby wipes to cleanse yourself while prepping. You will have frequent bowel movements and using toilet paper can cause some irritation.

  • Use of Vaseline, Witch Hazel, Tucks, Preparation H, or any hemorrhoidal soothing cream is OK to use while prepping.