Colonoscopy: What to Expect

Colonoscopy: What to Expect

Mon Jan 01 0001

Colonoscopy: What it is

If you’re feeling nervous about your child’s colonoscopy, rest assured that you’re not alone. Many adults are anxious about their own colonoscopy procedures! But a colonoscopy is a common, safe, and relatively painless procedure, whether you’re a child or a grown-up. The colonoscopy allows a special doctor, called a gastroenterologist, to look inside the colon and rectum. The doctor may also take a small tissue sample, called a biopsy. In pediatrics, colonoscopies are often prescribed to determine a cause for unexplained, prolonged abdominal pain, diarrhea, or bleeding.

What to expect

If your child needs a colonoscopy, it may help ease your anxiety, and your child’s, if you know exactly what to expect. Let’s review the common steps of a colonoscopy procedure.

Pre-op: Follow all instructions
In order to complete a successful colonoscopy, your child’s bowel must be completely empty. Your child may have a diet restricted to clear liquids the day before the procedure. They may also be prescribed a liquid bowel prep or a laxative before the test. Review the instructions from your doctor’s office carefully, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

If you choose to follow the same diet restrictions as your child, pack a carbohydrate snack to eat during their test so you can keep up your energy. Or, if your child is a patient at Pediatric Surgery Centers, enjoy a complimentary bagel and shmear in our Family Waiting Room.

Relieve stress by talking
It’s natural that you and your child may be nervous about their colonoscopy. If your child is old enough to understand, it may help to talk them through what will happen. If not, then it is important for you to try to be as calm and confident as possible. The calmer you are, the calmer your child will be.

Preparing for surgery

You will meet with your child’s gastroenterologist and anesthesiologist before the procedure begins. At a traditional pediatric facility, your child may be required to change into a hospital gown and have an IV put in place for anesthesia. At Pediatric Surgery Centers, we let kids stay comfortable in their own clothes, and our anesthesiologists administer anesthesia to your child safely and without pain through a facemask. Your child will be asleep for the colonoscopy test.

The procedure explained

The gastroenterologist will insert a small, thin tube, called a colonoscope, into the rectum. The colonoscope has a camera and a light at the end. This allows the doctor to see inside the colon and rectum. As the scope advances, images of the colon are viewed on a computer screen. If a biopsy is needed, the doctor will remove small tissue samples.

Colonoscopies are typically outpatient procedures, meaning your child can go home the same day as their procedure. You and your child will be reunited in Recovery once they are fully awake. Once all discharge criteria is met and you have reviewed the post-op instructions with your doctor or nurse, you and your child will be on your way home!