Direct Access Screening Colonoscopy
A direct access screening colonoscopy streamlines the colonoscopy process for adults who should be screened. Eligible patients can be referred by their primary care physician (PCP) and scheduled for the procedure without having an appointment with a gastroenterologist in advance. Patients are eligible if they are 45-75 years old and have seen their PCP within the past 12 months. Patients who have conditions such as rectal bleeding, chronic lung disease, kidney disease or heart disease may not be eligible for a direct access screening. In this case, patients need to see a gastroenterologist before scheduling a colonoscopy. Click here to fill out our direct access colonoscopy qualification questionnaire. To schedule your colonoscopy or refer a patient for a colonoscopy, please contact us at 630-889-9889 or simply request an appointment online.
The Colonoscopy Procedure
A colonoscopy is a medical procedure that examines the colon using a colonoscope to check for various gastrointestinal issues, such as polyps. It is also used as a screening tool for colon cancer. Healthy adults with no family history of colon cancer should have their first colonoscopy exam at age 50. A gastroenterologist can tell you if you might need one sooner than that. A colonoscope, which is a flexible tube with a tiny video camera attached to the end, is gently inserted into the colon through the anus. The camera at the end allows the gastroenterologist to observe the colon’s interior. If any suspicious areas are detected, the camera can extract a sample for a biopsy. If polyps are found, they are removed during the procedure for biopsy because some polyps can develop into cancer.
Who Needs a Colonoscopy?
Everyone should have a colonoscopy exam at 45 years old. There are various situations, however, that require the procedure at an earlier age. For example, adults with a family history of colon cancer should have a colonoscopy by age 40, or earlier depending on the age of family member(s) with colon cancer. Colonoscopies are also performed on patients of varying ages who have Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or other gastrointestinal problems.
For adults of any age struggling with gastrointestinal problems, a colonoscopy can potentially determine the issues and save lives. Patients 20 years and above with changes in bowel habit, blood in the stool, rectal pain or unexplained weight loss should also contact us for evaluation and possible colonoscopy.