Gil I. Ascunce, MD
Gastroenterologist located in Midtown, New York, NY
Whether diagnosing mysterious symptoms or screening for dangerous forms of cancer, a colonoscopy is one of the most useful gastrointestinal exams available. If you need a colonoscopy, trust board-certified New York City gastroenterologist Gil I. Ascunce, MD, located in Manhattan on Madison Avenue. With this procedure, Dr. Ascunce uses a tiny camera to show a clear picture of the inside of your digestive tract in real-time. This is one of your first lines of defense against colorectal cancer. For more information, or to schedule an exam, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.
Colonoscopy Q & A
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a procedure that uses a camera on the end of a long, thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope to examine the inside of your colon, or large intestine. The colonoscope is inserted through your rectum and gently advanced to the cecum and terminal ileum which is where the small intestine ends and the large intestine begins. A colonoscopy allows Dr. Ascunce to view the lining of your colon on a monitor in real-time and take biopsies when needed.
A colonoscopy is most often used to screen for colon cancer. Colon cancer begins as a small growth on the wall of the colon called a polyp. Polyps usually do not cause symptoms, and colon cancer is prevented by finding polyps and removing them. Colonoscopy is also used to diagnose a variety of other conditions because they offer Dr. Ascunce a direct view of your digestive tract. Colonoscopes can also take small samples, called biopsies, for diagnosis, and it can even be used to remove polyps directly.
How should I prepare for a colonoscopy?
You will need to avoid solid food for a day before your colonoscopy to keep your colon clean and free of food residue and stool that may interfere with the visualization of the colon. You will also be asked to take a laxative in the form of a liquid solution, the night before your colonoscopy to make sure that your bowels are fully evacuated. Be sure to mention any medications you are taking to Dr. Ascunce, especially any blood thinners.
What is an endoscopy?
An endoscopy is similar to a colonoscopy, but it focuses on the upper digestive tract as opposed to the colon. During an upper endoscopy, a camera on a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope is inserted through your mouth and into your esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine, allowing a clear view of your upper digestive system. The upper endoscopy also allows for biopsies of the esophagus, stomach and the upper portion of your small intestine.
Sometimes, a different instrument is required to study your digestive system and organs. Dr. Ascunce is one of select few gastroenterologists trained in performing an endoscopic ultrasound (EUS). With endoscopic ultrasound, the standard camera is substituted for an ultrasound probe to give Dr. Ascunce a more detailed picture of the inside of your digestive tract and surrounding organs to reveal changes beneath the surface of the lining and outside of the digestive tube.
Endoscopic Ultrasound offers a better evaluation of the pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts, and it allows for studying lumps and bumps that may be seen in the digestive system during a traditional upper endoscopy.
You prepare for an endoscopy by simply fasting since midnight on the day of the procedure. You must always arrange for a ride home afterward since most patients will receive gentle sedation to be comfortable during the examination. While colonoscopies are often done as a screening test, an endoscopy is usually only necessary to diagnose or treat an illness.
Why would I need a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy can be used to investigate or diagnose mysterious gastrointestinal symptoms, but is most commonly performed to prevent colon cancer. Colon cancer is one of the most common and dangerous forms of cancer, but it often produces no noticeable symptoms, even after months of growth and development in your body.
Colon cancer begins as a small growth in the colon called a polyp. We do not know what causes polyps, and polyps usually do not cause symptoms. A colonoscopy is used to hunt for these polyps and remove them before they have a chance to grow into cancer. Dr. Ascunce is very experienced and proficient at finding and removing these polyps.
All men and women are advised to have a colonoscopy for cancer screening starting at age 50, or maybe even earlier based on other risk factors. The American Cancer Society has recently advised that everybody begin colon cancer screening with colonoscopy at age 45 years old. Talk to Dr. Ascunce to assess your risks of colon cancer and determine if you need more frequent screenings.
To schedule a colonoscopy or endoscopy, or for any questions about gastrointestinal conditions, call the office of Gil I. Ascunce, MD, or schedule an appointment online today.