Understand and Prepare for Your Surgery

Understanding your surgery and preparing for the procedure is an important and vital step in ensuring a successful outcome. Information, instructions, and forms are available to prepare you for your surgery and recovery.

Education / Pre-Surgery Info

Understanding the procedure and preparing for your appointment are two important steps patients can take before surgery.


A colonoscopy helps diagnose inflammation of the colon (colitis). It can be used to remove growths (polyps) and can be used to take a sample of tissue (biopsy) for study. It also can pinpoint causes of bleeding or pain and can help detect colon or rectal cancer.

What to expect

In the examination room, you will lie on your left side on the examination table. During the colonoscopy, a physician, an assistant, and a member of the anesthesia staff will be in the room with you.

You may receive an intravenous (IV) sedation. It will help you relax and make you more comfortable. It may also make you sleepy.

During the colonoscopy, a surgeon inserts a colonscope, which is a thing flexible tube, through your rectum and into your colon. You make have a feeling of abdominal pressure, cramping, or bloating as the colonscope is moved or as air and water are inserted in the tube.

A colonoscopy usually takes between 15 and 60 minutes. When your examination is finished, you will be taken to a recover area where you’ll stay for about an hour.

Preparing for your colonoscopy

Preparation includes a clear liquid diet and taking a laxative. Should the instructions not be followed, your colon may not get entirely clean and the procedure may have to be cancelled.

  • Schedule a history and physical with our family doctor within thirty days of the colonoscopy.
  • Purchase Miralax (238 gram) bottle, which is over-the-counter. Purchase a 64-ounce Gatorade (not red) or Crystal Lite. If you are diabetic, we suggest you purchase Crystal Lite. Also, purchase four Dulcolax (laxative) tablets.
  • Pre-certify with your insurance company by calling the toll-free number listed on your insurance card. Medicare and Medicaid do not require pre-certification.
  • On the day of the colonoscopy, take note of the color or your last bowel movement. It may be an indication of enemas to be provided by the nursing staff.

Seven days prior to your colonoscopy

Avoid fiber supplements, such as Metamucil, Fibercom, Citracel, etc. Also, avoid foods such as cabbage, corn, beans, popcorn, lettuce, seeds, and nuts.

Five days prior to your colonoscopy:

Stop all blood thinners, including Coumadin, Warfarin, Heparin, Pletal, Mobic, and/or Plavix.

Day before your colonoscopy

Drink only clear liquids, such as water, coffee, tea, Jell-O, broth, soda, popsicles, juice (avoid pulp), Gatorade, Kool-Aid. Avoid red and purple colored liquids. Creamers and milk products are to be avoided.

Miralax and Dulcolax Instructions for the day before your colonoscopy:

  • 3 pm – Take four Dulcolax tablets with a full glass of water.
  • 5 pm – Mix entire bottle of Miralax in 64 ounces of choice. Do not mix with water. Shake until dissolved. Drink one 8-ounce glass of liquid every 10 to 15 minutes until gone, which will take approximately two hours. Continue drinking clear liquids after the Miralax is gone. Extra fluids will continue to clean our your colon and keep you hydrated.
  • Consume nothing by mouth after midnight.

After your colonoscopy

Discomfort is normal, including the feeling of being bloated, having gas pains, and passing large amounts of gas. Walking may help relieve your discomfort.

You may resume taking your medications, unless instructed otherwise by your healthcare provider. Depending the findings, you may be prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection.

You may resume your regular diet when you feel able, unless you are scheduled for additional tests that require a special diet.

When to seek medical help:

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call Effingham Surgical Associates or go to an emergency room:

  • Pass blood clots or blood colors the toilet water red, or have bleeding from your rectum up to 14 days after the colonoscopy. Blood the first couple of bowel movements is normal.
  • Develop persistent abdominal or rectal pain (with or without blood) that is not relieved by expelling gas up to approximately two weeks after the colonoscopy.
  • Develop temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or greater.