Colonoscopy in Illinois

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A colonoscopy is an endoscopic procedure where a long, thin, flexible tube known as a “scope” is inserted into the rectum and navigated through the entire colon (large intestine). This scope is equipped with a light and a camera, enabling the physician to closely inspect the colon's lining. Colonoscopies are often performed to identify the causes of gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, bleeding, abdominal pain, or unusual x-ray findings.

This procedure is also recommended for asymptomatic individuals starting at age 45, or earlier based on medical history, as a means to screen for colon cancer and polyps. Colonoscopy remains the sole preventive strategy for colorectal cancer. At GI Alliance of Illinois, our board-certified gastroenterologists are experts in conducting these exams. To find out more or to schedule a colonoscopy, please contact one of our Illinois locations.

Colonoscopy exams are the most effective method for preventing colon cancer, which is why they are crucial for individuals over 45 or those at increased risk for the disease. Regular screenings not only safeguard your gastrointestinal health but also contribute broadly to your overall well-being. The benefits of colonoscopy exams are numerous, including:

  • Early detection of the initial signs of colon and rectal cancer
  • The ability to detect and remove abnormal growths
  • Identification of diverticulosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and other gastrointestinal conditions
  • Recognition as the most effective screening option for colon and/or rectal cancer
  • Potential to be a life-saving procedure

Thanks to advancements in medical technology, colorectal cancer screenings today are conducted more quickly, comfortably, and accurately than ever before.

You will receive detailed instructions from your doctor at GI Alliance of Illinois regarding the necessary bowel preparation for your colonoscopy. Most patients will need to adhere to a clear liquid diet the day before the exam. There are various laxative options to ensure the colon is thoroughly cleaned. It is crucial to follow the instructions provided by your doctor. Additional guidance will be given regarding your medications. Typically, you can continue your medications as usual, but special instructions will be provided for patients on blood thinners (e.g., Coumadin, warfarin, Plavix, aspirin, anti-inflammatories) and diabetics. You will be advised not to consume anything after midnight except for essential medications.

On the day of your procedure, you should arrive at the endoscopy center 1 to 1.5 hours before your scheduled exam time to complete paperwork and prepare. You will change into a medical gown, and an IV catheter will be inserted into your arm for sedation. Monitoring equipment will track your heart rate, blood pressure, pulse, electrocardiogram, breathing, and oxygen levels during and after the exam.

In the exam room, you will lie on your left side. The IV sedation will be administered in small, safe amounts tailored to your needs. Once adequately sedated, the physician will perform a rectal exam followed by the gentle insertion of the colonoscope into the rectum. The scope will be advanced through the colon to the junction with the small intestine. Air will be introduced through the scope to expand the colon for better visibility. Any residual fluid in the colon can be washed out and suctioned through the scope.

During the procedure, the doctor may perform biopsies, remove polyps, and control any bleeding. After completing the exam, as much air and remaining fluid as possible will be suctioned out of the colon. The entire procedure typically lasts between 15 – 30 minutes, depending on the findings.

After your exam, you will be moved to the recovery room to be monitored as the sedation wears off. The amount of sedation used and your personal response will determine how quickly you regain full alertness, but most patients are ready for discharge within 45 – 60 minutes.

Since you will not be allowed to drive for the remainder of the day, you will need to arrange for someone to take you home. Additionally, you should not work, sign important documents, or engage in strenuous activities for the rest of the day. While most patients can eat and drink normally after leaving the Endoscopy unit, you will receive specific instructions about activity, diet, and medications before you are discharged.

Following the exam, the doctor or nurse will discuss the procedure's findings with you. Because the sedation can affect your memory, it is a good idea to bring someone who can also hear the results. You will also receive a typed report to take home. Biopsy results, if applicable, are typically provided within a week.

The alternatives to a colonoscopy depend largely on the reasons for needing the procedure. Generally, a colonoscopy is the most effective way to evaluate and treat abnormalities in the colon and remains the only preventive method for colorectal cancer. There are other diagnostic methods available, such as barium enemas and virtual CT scans, which can assess the colon but cannot treat any detected abnormalities. If these diagnostic tests reveal issues, a colonoscopy or surgery will still be necessary for treatment.

In general, a colonoscopy is a very safe procedure. Complications occur in less than 1% of patients, and most are not life-threatening. However, if a complication does arise, it may require hospitalization and surgery. Before the exam, the nursing staff will review a consent form with you, and any questions or concerns can be discussed with your physician.

Reactions to the sedation medication can occur, including allergic reactions, difficulty breathing, effects on the heart and blood pressure, and irritation of the vein used for the medication.

Bleeding can happen with biopsies or the removal of polyps, but significant bleeding requiring a blood transfusion or hospitalization is rare. However, bleeding can occur during the exam or up to two weeks after if a polyp is removed.

Perforation or puncture of the colon is another potential complication. This may be recognized during the exam or later in the day. Most cases of perforation will require surgery and hospitalization, although this is uncommon, even when polyps are removed.

It's crucial to contact your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms like worsening abdominal pain, bleeding, or fever after the procedure.

As with any test, a colonoscopy is not perfect. There is a small, accepted risk that abnormalities, including polyps and cancers, can be missed. It is important to continue following up with your doctor at GI Alliance of Illinois as instructed and to inform them of any new or persistent symptoms.

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By what age should you have your first colonoscopy exam?

It’s suggested that individuals who are at average risk of colon cancer begin getting colonoscopy exams at age 45. If your personal risks for developing colon cancer are more likely or if you are showing signs of colon cancer, your GI specialist could recommend colonoscopies before that age.

How often is it recommended you get a colonoscopy?

GI doctors advise undergoing a colon cancer screening about every decade for patients who are at general risk, who are of good health, and who have charts that reveal no concerns. Following your screening, your provider will inform you how often you should schedule colonoscopy screenings moving forward.

Are colonoscopies painful?

Sedation will be provided before your colonoscopy to maximize your comfort level throughout the exam. Based on the medication, most patients experience an intensely tranquil state and even feel sleepy, and many report little-to-no recollection of the procedure. Feel free to speak with your colonoscopy doctor about what you can anticipate at your consultation visit.

What’s the average recovery period for a colonoscopy?

Typically, patients need somewhere around a full 24 hours to recover from their colonoscopy exam, and many can resume their normal routine the following day. When colorectal polyps are removed, the recovery time may last about a week. It is common to experience a little bit of gastric discomfort after a colon cancer screening, including bloating and cramping. Our GI Alliance of Illinois team will give you more information about what to expect during your recovery.

A colonoscopy is often regarded as the “gold standard” among screening methods. Unlike many other screening options, a colonoscopy serves as both a diagnostic and preventive strategy, allowing for a thorough examination of the entire colon and the removal of polyps in a single procedure. Other screening methods may detect polyps but lack the ability to remove them, necessitating a follow-up colonoscopy if polyps are found.

Scheduling a colonoscopy at GI Alliance of Illinois can be a life-saving decision. Regular colonoscopies are crucial for early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer. To learn more about the benefits of a colonoscopy and how to schedule one, contact any of our Chicago, Peoria, Normal, or surrounding Illinois locations today.

This was one unexpected surprise. A doctor that’s on-time, listens, explains and is extremely intelligent and beyond bright. Dr. Liebovich did both my colonoscopy as well as endoscopy and it was a million more times precise then a few years ago with my previous physician. Dr.. Liebovich is confident, talented and reassuring. He explained all my medical concerns & procedures in great detail and he has a natural ability to show genuine compassion and concern. A very very fine physician and tbh, a very nice man. I’m extremely grateful to have met him and even more so to have had him skillfully do my procedures.

M.O. Google

Dr. Stinneford is a wonderful doctor and human being. He’s an amazing listener, which seems increasingly rare these days. He was very competent, professional and kind. His staff was also fantastic. I had to have an endoscopy and a colonoscopy and the entire process went very smoothly. I’ve been to many gastroenterologists over the years, all around the country, and he’s one of the best!

A. Google

People were nice. Everything was on time. Everything was explained to me. Don't know how a colonoscopy could have been better than that.

S.C. Google

It's all about the people. I trust Dr. Godambe. She is very professional but also friendly. The entire medical and clerical staff is the same way. I believe attitude is a reflection of leadership. They were efficient, friendly, and made me forget about the 12 hours of prep prior to my colonoscopy. lol.

J.B. Google

Dr Robinson and his staff was the best experience! From my first consultation to the actual colonoscopy. He provides information in a calm and assured way so you don’t feel afraid or uncertain. His staff at the desk & nurses are absolutely amazing, professional and friendly-even though there are many patients at one time. They treat everyone as a special person. Please don’t stop this needed doctor /patient model. It is appreciated.

L.W. Google


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