About The Endoscopy Center
The Endoscopy Center at The Surgery Center of Huntsville is a state-of-the-art facility designed to promote excellence in patient care and outpatient surgery. Colonoscopy, one of our most common endoscopic procedures, has become a regular event for millions of people as part of a routine health screening protocol. In the United States, colon cancer is the third most common form of cancer, and an annual screening of the internal bowel through colonoscopy allows for early detection of polyps and cancer, as well as other diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, diverticulitis and Crohn’s Disease. Early and accurate diagnoses of colon cancer and other diseases of the bowel may significantly impact outcomes. At The Endoscopy Center, both on-site and local pathologists work with your surgeon to ensure accurate and timely biopsies with fast and reliable diagnoses.
Our registered nurses (RNs) — we have over 100 on staff — are Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and IV Conscious Sedation Certified. We will have a Registered Nurse (RN) in the procedure room with you at all times, as well as a surgical technologist to support your physician. Generally colonoscopy is performed under “twilight sedation,” which will keep you comfortable throughout the procedure and you may sleep through it, or not. In addition to The Endoscopy Center, we have other state-of-the-art facilities at The Surgery Center. We have sixteen general operating rooms, a Breast Center procedure suite, four Eye Center procedure suites and a Pain Management Center procedure suite.
There are also two spacious waiting rooms for family and friends and an Extended Care Center for those patients who need up to 23-hours to stabilize before going home. Our staff and facilities were designed with your complete care and comfort in mind.
Your physician has explained that you require a colonoscopy as part of regular healthcare screening or to rule out a specific concern. The Centers for Disease Control has recommended that everyone over the age of 50 should receive a routine screening colonoscopy, so you are one of millions who will participate in this procedure this year.
A fairly simple procedure, a colonoscopy is done by guiding a long flexible, lighted tube through the rectum and into the bowel. Pain medication and mild sedatives are routinely given prior to the procedure to minimize your discomfort. You will be asked to lie on your left side, and if you remain awake through the procedure, may actually watch the images being produced by the scope on a monitor.
The flexible tube allows your doctor to easily guide the tiny camera through the curves and bends of your colon to carefully examine the lining. Your physician may take samples of tissue from the colon or remove polyps during the procedure, both of which are completely painless. Any tissue samples are then sent to a pathology lab where experts can determine if the tissue is benign or malignant. Although the majority of biopsies conducted during colonoscopies do not reveal cancer, it is critical that you have this procedure. Early diagnoses and treatment are a major factor in treating any type of cancer, especially colon cancer.
About Your Procedure
Once you have checked in and completed any financial paper work, one of our registered nurses will escort you to a procedure room and prepare you for your colonoscopy.You can expect the following things to happen:
- We will review your medical history.
- We will give you instructions about your colonoscopy.
- We will ask you to sign your Operative Permit.
- We will start an IV. Fluids will not only help you stay hydrated during your procedure, but will also give your medical team a line for administering anesthesia or other medications you may require.
You may have a wait in Pre-Op as it is not possible to predict exactly how long a procedure will take. Even though we try to run the schedule as tightly as possible, patient care remains our first priority. If the first patient of the morning requires more time in the procedure suite, then that will bump the schedule back and may delay the time that you go in. Just remember that you will be given that same consideration. Once you are in our care, you will be there for the full amount of time required to ensure an excellent outcome.
Inform your Anesthesiologist about any Dental Appliances such as crowns, bridges or dentures.
Your colonoscopy will be performed under IV conscious sedation. This type of sedation uses pain relievers and sedatives to minimize discomfort by inducing an altered state of consciousness. Under conscious sedation, patients are usually able to speak and respond to their physician, and may communicate any discomfort they might be experiencing. Afterward, you may not remember any part of the procedure at all.
IV conscious sedation is safe and predictable but, like all medical procedures, it has certain risks that are affected by each patient’s health. Aside from known factors, there are situations that may not present themselves until the patient is sedated. It is very important that you be aware of the risks before you undergo any form of anesthesia. Eating or drinking (including gum or mints) after 11:00PM the day before your surgery can cause major complications and may result in the cancellation of your procedure.
Once you are prepared and we are ready to begin your procedure, you will be moved into one of the specialized colonoscopy procedure rooms. These rooms are designed for ease of use by the medical team. You may find them to be cool. Each suite is temperature controlled to establish ideal conditions for medical procedures.
We will respect your dignity as we work to ensure that your colonoscopy is conducted promptly, accurately and safely. When the procedure is complete, you will be moved into a post-op area. The attending nurse will be with you until your vital signs are stable and your doctor says that you have met the discharge criteria.
Your family should be available for the Post-Op conference.
Immediately following your procedure, your physician will most likely go to The Endoscopy Center waiting room to update your family. The family is responsible for being in the area when the surgeon comes out to talk. Your surgeon is probably scheduled to attend another patient, so if he or she does not find your family or agent in the area, they will have to wait for your nurse to get an update. It is your family’s responsibility to be available for this conference.
Following Your Colonoscopy
Remember that a colonoscopy is an invasive procedure. It is very important that you be gentle with yourself for a few days after your procedure. Be sure to follow any specific instructions given to you by your physician, as well as the following general guidelines, upon your release from The Endoscopy Center:
- You must have someone drive you home from The Endoscopy Center.
- Avoid strenuous exercise or activities for at least 24 hours after your procedure.
- If you are experiencing discomfort, take Tylenol®, Aleve® or ibuprofen as directed, or whatever your physician has prescribed for pain.
- Do not take aspirin for 48-hours following your procedure to minimize the risk of bleeding.
- If you have excessive pain, bleeding or fever, contact your physician immediately.
Remember, it is very likely that you will have additional questions once you get home and results from any tests may take several days to process. If you have any questions after you have left The Endoscopy Center, you must call your physician for answers. If you have any serious complications, call 911 or go to the emergency room at the hospital of your choice immediately. Do not call or return to The Endoscopy Center because we do not have staff physicians, nor are we equipped to provide additional treatment or medical care.
Call 256-533-4888 to Pre-register.
Make Sure You Have an Escort.
Do Not Eat or Drink Anything After 11:00PM the Evening Before.
Bring Your Insurance Card and Photo ID.
Inform Your Anesthesiologist About Any Dental Appliances.