Most people don't look forward to the invasiveness of a traditional colonoscopy, and often put the procedure off to avoid the discomfort. Yet, colorectal cancer screenings are an important part of colon cancer prevention and early detection.
Conditions diagnosed with colonoscopy
With colonoscopy procedures, we can diagnose a variety of gastrointestinal conditions, including:
- Colon polyps
- Colorectal cancer
- Crohn’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Ulcerative colitis
Our colonoscopy procedures are performed by expert gastroenterologists, who are board certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology. Our highly trained support team and registered nurses are also at your side every step of the way.
- Colonoscopy: A visual examination of the lining of the rectum and colon using a flexible fiber-optic endoscope
- Virtual colonoscopy: A minimally invasive procedure where 3D pictures are taken of your abdomen and pelvis
Frequently asked questions
What Sharp locations offer colonoscopy procedures?
At Sharp HealthCare, we provide a full range of colonoscopy procedures. And our services are offered at locations across San Diego, making it easy for you to get the care you need, when you need it.
We offer expert services at our four acute-care hospitals across San Diego — Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, Sharp Coronado Hospital, Sharp Grossmont Hospital and Sharp Memorial Hospital.
How can I find a gastroenterologist?
There are two simple ways to find the right doctor for you:
- Search online for a gastroenterologist with our quick, easy-to-use Find a Doctor tool.
- Call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 7 am to 7 pm, to speak with one of our specially trained physician referral nurses. They know our doctors and can help you find the perfect fit.
How do I schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist?
In some cases, you will need a referral from your primary care doctor.
Some medical groups offer direct access to certain types of specialists. And some health plans, such as PPOs, offer direct access to all specialists. Contact your health plan's member services department to confirm your coverage.
If you are an existing patient with a Sharp-affiliated gastroenterologist (meaning you have seen your doctor at least once), simply call the doctor’s office to make an appointment.
What insurance plans are accepted at Sharp's locations?
Sharp accepts almost all health insurance plans, including Medicare, Medi-Cal and most managed care and private insurance plans.
Be sure to check with your insurance company to verify specific coverage. Insurance companies frequently add new plans, and update provider networks and covered services under existing plans.
How is a colonoscopy performed?
A colonoscopy is a visual examination of the lining of the rectum and colon using a flexible fiber-optic endoscope. The endoscope uses a tiny camera to transmit images to a monitor so your care team can instantly identify any abnormalities or polyps, or growths that can form on the colon's lining.
Before the procedure, an IV line will be placed in your arm to deliver medications for comfort during the procedure. We will continually check your blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen via a monitor.
For the duration of the procedure, you will be on your left side. Using an endoscope, our team will closely examine the lining of the rectum and colon. If necessary, your doctor will remove any polyps and may obtain biopsies.
During the procedure, you may experience a sensation of pressure, gas, bloating or cramping. One of our experienced nurses will remain by your side and monitor your comfort level.
Once the area has been viewed and any tissue samples taken, the endoscope will be removed. The procedure usually lasts between 15 and 60 minutes.
How should I prepare for a colonoscopy?
The rectum and colon must be completely empty in order to perform the colonoscopy. Follow your doctor's specific preparation instructions, which may include:
- An oral preparation the day before your procedure
- A clear liquid diet the day before your procedure
- Nothing to eat or drink three hours before your procedure
- A responsible adult to accompany you to your appointment, stay for the duration of the procedure and escort you home afterward
It is essential that you follow your doctor's instructions fully — if any of the necessary preparations are not met, you may be asked to reschedule the procedure for a later date.
What should I expect after a colonoscopy?
Due to the sedation effects of the medication you receive, your doctor may talk to your loved ones or speak with you later. Your post-procedure discussion may involve a phone call from your doctor or a follow-up visit at your doctor's office.
We know you will be awaiting the results of your exam and we will do our best to get them as swiftly as possible; however, it may take several days to a week before your doctor receives biopsy results.
What is a virtual colonoscopy?
nflated, which eliminates the need for placing and moving a scope through your colon, as occurs with a traditional colonoscopy. Beyond examining your colon, virtual colonoscopy allows the physician to look outside the colon for other abnormalities in the abdomen and pelvis.
Using a computed tomography (CT) scan, 3D pictures are taken of your abdomen and pelvis while you lie on your back and then on your stomach. In each position you must hold your breath for 15 seconds while the CT scan photographs your abdomen and pelvis.
The entire procedure usually takes less than a half hour and requires no sedation. Because there is no anesthesia, you do not need a loved one to drive you. Traditional colonoscopy can take up to an hour and patients must be sedated.
Virtual colonoscopy is offered at the Outpatient Imaging Center at Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion.
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We'll help find the doctor who's right for you.
View doctors specializing in gastroenterology in San Diego.
Dr. Alissa Speziale
"It is a privilege to help patients improve health and quality of life and to prevent illness."
Dr. Hongfei Fang
"The Sharp Experience provides personalized medical care to ensure that the patient is treated as a whole."
Dr. James Wolosin
"It is every bit as important to listen to our patients as it is to perform comprehensive evaluations."
Dr. John Duque
"My goal is to provide efficient evaluation and treatment of gastrointestinal disorders with compassion and quality."
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