Top 5 questions to ask before getting a colonoscopy

Dr. Robert J. Theobald, a highly rated proctologist in Tampa, Fla., says a colonoscopy should be done starting
at age 50 or earlier and is a quick, safe and easy procedure, but shouldn’t be taken lightly.

“Colon cancer is the second [leading cancer] killer — next to lung cancer,” he says. “It grows from colon polyps, but is 100 percent preventable with colonoscopies.”

To ensure your exam goes as smoothly as possible, Theobald recommends asking your doctor these questions:

  1. How many colonoscopies have you performed?
  2. Where will the procedure be done?
  3. What kind of anesthesia will be used? Do I have a choice, and will I need someone to drive me home afterward?
  4. What do I need to do to prepare for the procedure?
  5. What complications are associated with colonoscopies?



My colon was punctured during a colonsopy which led to 6 weeks in ICU, followed by 1 month of rehab. This puncture caused multiple infections including pneumonia, ecoli, urinary tract infection, and others. Was on ventilator, tracheotomy, put in a induced coma for 2 weeks and almost lost my life. They prepared my husband for my imminent death. By the grace of God, I survived.

One of the problems I see is that the Doctors will schedule to many colonoscopys in a small time frame, They get in a hurry knowing they have so many to do in a certain amount of time. That happened to me when she took out a skin tag and pulled out to fast not waiting to see if I was going to bleed. Unfortunatley a blood vessel came through the hole where she took the skin tag out. Three days later eating popcorn ripped the blood vessel open and I started to bleed out losing 2 liters of blood. I spent four days in the hospital and 35,000 dollars later. There should be laws put in place if they aren't already stating that they can only do so many in a day, I found my doctor had 15 scheduled that day alone.

If you are an extremely healthy 51 year old who went for their 1st routine colonoscopy advised by family physician labeling it routine and you end up in the hospital with a 14 inch scar on belly that originally did not even have a stretch mark, wouldn't you be pissed off? It will not be so easy to get your body back while in menapause for a screw up your doctor made by turning the scope around at rectum to "take a picture" and perforating it causing you to have emeergency surgery in ER 50 feet away from gastro office. Never again!

My wife and I had one in 2006, everything seemed to go fine, don't know what was used. but there were some pollops removed which were benign. After reading this board I'm not too comfortable with scheduling another one.

So many people RUSH to blame their Doctor, or health care provider, and it is the frivolous law suits from patients who expect their physicians to be miracle workers that have caused the cost to have such vital tests triple in cost every 5 years. These lawsuits are NOT frivolous. Death because of the healthcare profession have no past cancer and heart deaths. "Iatrogenic deaths are up to 51%" How else do we keep them in check?

At age 50 I had my first and only colonoscopy (I'm age 63 now). What anethesia??? All I remember was feeling bloated with massive cramps. You can't live forever!

Ask your docotor is he/she will use Versed to sedate you. Most likely, the answer will be "yes". In that case, RUN AWAY! Never , EVER, let them use that drug on you! You can have Fentenyl for pain and NOT use sedation. They DO NOT want you to be awake, aware, or to have ANY memory of the painful procedure!

I had colorectal cancer at age 32, my advice would be to listen to and pay attention to your own body. Had I waited until 50..... well I guess I wouldn't be here now. I'll be 50 next February.

Have had 2 done, 50 and 55 and when 60 rolls in. Worst thing is drinking the SUPER laxative. Everything else positive 2 polyyps, last time.

I went for my 4th colonoscopy. I was given VERSED in the 3 previous ones and it was not unpleasant experience. I was screaming in pain and the Dr. never stopped. He was part of Manhattan Physician Group. He swears he gave me Versed. I am a nurse. NO WAY.

I have a fear of colonoscopy and doctors in general. In the old days they used to bleed people didn’t they? Barbaric? Yes. I do think there are good doctors out there but they are very hard to find. There is big money in evasive tests and chemotherapy and such. Big Big money! The powers that be will push anything that costs us money so they can by that new boat, airplane, million dollar home, etc. Doctors that think outside of the box that will encourage natural therapy or cancer prevention is in danger of being excommunicated! Colonoscopy may have some value in some cases but!!! I heard about a woman that had surgery and the anesthesia caused her so much depression that she killed herself!!! Any drug that is chemically made is unnatural and has potential side effects. I refuse to take any drugs unless absolutely necessary such as antibiotics with pneumonia. The problem is we are all getting cancer and many diseases because of greed!!! Yes greed from the producers of meat, produce, etc. Chemicals and hormones in our food. Now I hear Monsanto is creating Frankenstein food through genetically engineering!!!! They are killing us!!!

The poor treatment won't stop until YOU stand up and fight back! Do not allow yourself to be treated poorly or be treated in a condescending manor. Turn them in to the local medical boards. Go find another doctor.

I've had 2 scopes, at 51 and recently this past Jan. Same doctor did both. He will be doing my wife next month. This is her first. Its a dirty shame that the anestheseologist got paid $800 for her part, and the proctologist got $200. Whats wrong with that picture?

Yes, I made the mistake of mentioning to the Nurse that previously they'd stopped some surgery on me since my heart seemed to go into "standby" or something. Her answer to that was to short me on anesthesia so I was quite there during the whole thing. I felt the top-right turn and top-left turn clearly so imagine I'd have known of a puncture.

I had my first colonoscopy done at age 56. It was a horrible experience that almost cost me my life. The doctor sent me home before the medication wore off. I couldn't even sign the release form. The medication (versed) caused memory loss for a couple of days and I threw up the rest of the day until my husband had to call an ambulance because my hands and forearms became numb. The hospital let me sit up in a wheel chair unconscious alone until my husband said he got there to discover me alone. It took another 2 hours for the nurse to call me up and my husband rolled me over to a nurse that kept yelling at me until he said to stop it. I had a negative reaction to the medications, versed and demeral and the doctor that performed the procedure didn't listen to me when I said that I was sensitive to anesthesia. I will never have another one done again for any reason because my family doesn't have a history and the doctor didn't find anything wrong.

Had colonoscopy recently had 3 polyps. Dr. said 3 years before the next one

At age 60 I started having a colonoscopy each year. Two years later the doctor suggested having them every three years. Big Mistake! At my next colonoscopy I have a large mass in upper colon area which was determined to be cancer. I had colon cancer surgery and nine months of chemo treatments.

punctured colon is NOT a common occurrence, however as with ANY procedure, there are certain risks involved. Most Doctors will discuss the risks with their patient, however the responsibility for asking about the risks involved with the procedure lies with the patient. So many people RUSH to blame their Doctor, or health care provider, and it is the frivolous law suits from patients who expect their physicians to be miracle workers that have caused the cost to have such vital tests triple in cost every 5 years

Colon Cancer killed my husband nearly 4 years ago, at age 50. There is no reason to wait until 50 for a colonoscopy, particularly if you have (a) a family history (b) symptoms of intestinal problems or pre-existing conditions like Crohn's or Colitis. I'm sorry for Brenda's bad outcome, but this is why it's important--VERY important--to ask the questions above of as many doctors as you can interview until you find one with whom you feel comfortable. A colonoscopy may be uncomfortable, but it's still better than chemo. Trust me.

In regard to the message left by Belinda Cicco and the complication she had during her procedure: I'm sorry that you had that unfortunate and sometimes serious complication from your colonoscopy. However, please understand that your comment “that this happens quite often" is completely untrue and is very dangerous if it scares people away from scheduling their own procedures. Statistically speaking, the chances of a perforation during a colonoscopy are incredibly low. Colonoscopies save the lives of thousands of Americans every year and provide physicians with the information needed to increase the quality of life for another large group of the population. However, none of my comments are worth anything without solid clinical data to back them up, so I’ll provide it now. Digestive Disease Week is the highest-profile event for specialists around the world to gather to learn about, and study the most up-to-date research available. At the annual Digestive Disease Week meeting in 2009, the most current rates of perforation associated with colonoscopy were presented. Covering more than a quarter million colonoscopies, the perforation rate for therapeutic colonoscopy was 1 in 1,500 exams (0.06% of patients). In purely screening or diagnostic tests, perforations were even more rare, occurring in only 1 in 6,000 tests (0.016% of patients). The study team defined a diagnostic colonoscopy as one where no polyps needed to be removed and biopsies of suspicious areas were simple and didn’t require cauterization. When cauterization or removal of polyps with a snare (polypectomy) was necessary during the procedure, it was called a therapeutic colonoscopy. This is the largest compilation of data that has been put together regarding this specific issue of perforation during colonoscopy, and it shows very clearly that the risk of this complication during the procedure is incredibly low. It should absolutely not keep people from going to their own screening as well as encouraging their friends and family to schedule a colonoscopy when they turn 50. For anyone with a history of colon cancer in their family, the age to start your screenings is younger, so consult your physician to see when they would like you to begin. The source of that data, for anyone who may wish to verify my information, can be found in the study that I mentioned. Here is the relevant information if you would like your doctor to get you a copy: Fehmi et al., Risk of Perforation During Colonoscopy: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, Abstract 210, Digestive Disease Week 2009. I hope that my comments are helpful to the readers.

Unlike Belinda, I have had many colonoscopies over the past 10 years due to a disease I have. Almost all have been performed by one doctor (though a few have been taken care of by another doctor if my original doctor wasn't available). I have never had any problems with punctures or bleeding from biopsies. I'm not trying to say that they don't happen, just that you shouldn't let that be the deciding factor about whether to have one performed or not. Make sure that you find a doctor you can trust, and follow their instructions and hopefully things will turn out ok. Colon cancer is serious business, especially considering how treatable it is if you catch it early.

I have had 2 colonoscopy done one at 37 one at 48,and i am not a bit sorry i did. To many people don't bother until it's to late.

After having my colon punctured during a colonoscopy, I have learned that this happens quite often, my doctor takes no blame. I spent a week in the hospital and want the public to know this happens quite often. I need a voice for this miserable outcome.

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