What to expect after your colonoscopy
Since most people are sedated during a colonoscopy, the procedure itself is virtually painless. In fact, many people report waking up from a colonoscopy with no memory of the exam at all.
After your colonoscopy, you'll be moved to a recovery room while the sedative begins to wear off. The time you spend in the recovery room is dictated according to safety standards and to ensure your vital signs are acceptable for discharge.
You may feel groggy from the sedative and weak from the entire process, so you won't be allowed to leave the recovery room alone or drive yourself until the next day. For this reason, it might be a good idea to relax at home for the rest of the day. You will probably experience some gas and bloating after your colonoscopy, since the procedure does involve filling your large intestine with air to help your doctor get the best possible view. Rest assured—these issues usually pass within 24 hours.
Getting your colonoscopy results
After you have recovered, your doctor will provide you with a copy of the procedure report, complete with pictures, and tell you what was found. Most often, patients are told whether something of concern has been found or not and what the follow-up plan is. Often, the family member or driver is at bedside when the procedure results are discussed. If a patient has a polyp that is too large to remove, the doctor may take a biopsy of the tissue for further testing. It may take approximately 1 week to receive the results of the biopsy. Most doctors also send a letter to the patient with the results and the recommended time interval before the next colonoscopy.