Colonscopy ProcedureThe main colorectal cancer (CRC) screening test is the colonoscopy. The procedure involves visualizing the interior of the large bowel with a camera and biopsying or treating any abnormal appearing areas. Patient preparation for the procedure involves a challenging and unpleasant cleansing of the digestive tract the day prior to the procedure. However, the thoroughness of the preparation is a crucial factor in the success of the examination.
The extent of the bowel preparation is graded on the Aronchick scale, and rates the quality of the preparation based on the percentage of the mucosa visualized during the procedure: more than 95% visualized is excellent, 90-95% good, 80-90% fair, and less than 80% poor. If a patient older than the age of 50 has normal results, the usual guidelines suggest followup after ten years. If polyps are removed, followup can be recommended in three years. However, if preparation is rated as "fair", followup can also be recommended more frequently. This data suggests that, while the preparation may be unpleasant, the more thoroughly it is accomplished may have the additional benefit of extending the time period for the procedure to have to be repeated.
Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | www.drtupac.com 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309