Colonoscopy Specialist

Maria Palafox, MD

Breast Cancer Surgeon & General Surgeon located in San Antonio, TX

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men and women combined in the United States. Sadly, 60% of colorectal cancer deaths are preventable with regular screening. At Maria Palafox, MD, in San Antonio, Dr. Palafox offers valuable testing through colonoscopies. To learn how you can gain the upper hand when it comes to colorectal cancer, call or book an appointment online.

Colonoscopy Q & A

by Maria Palafox, MD

What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a procedure that allows Dr. Palafox to carefully examine the inside of your rectum and colon using specialized imaging equipment.

How is a colonoscopy performed?

While the thought of a colonoscopy may not be pleasant, in reality, it typically lasts only 30-60 minutes, and you’re given medications to keep you relaxed throughout the procedure.

In fact, the bulk of the work happens before your colonoscopy because you need to ensure that your colon is clear before Dr. Palafox can perform the visual examination. To prepare, you’ll need to:

  • Avoid solid foods for 24 hours in advance of the procedure
  • Take laxatives
  • Undergo one or two enemas to flush out your intestine

When the field is free and clear, Dr. Palafox can perform the colonoscopy. Here’s how it works:

  • Dr. Palafox inserts a colonoscope (a long, flexible instrument) into your rectum
  • She moves the colonoscope to the far end of your colon
  • The scope blows air into your colon to enlarge it for maneuverability and visualization
  • The scope is equipped with a camera that transmits images to a video screen

If Dr. Palafox sees anything abnormal during the exam, she’s able to remove a tissue sample for testing, and she’s also able to remove small polyps during the procedure.

After the procedure, you’re monitored for 30-60 minutes, and then you’re free to go. Since you’ll receive medication that makes you drowsy, you should arrange for someone to drive you home.

How often should I get a colonoscopy?

If you don’t fall into a high-risk group, you should have your first colonoscopy when you turn 50. If your results are normal, you should return every 10 years for another colonoscopy.

If Dr. Palafox finds polyps during your first procedure and removes them, she’ll want to see you more frequently. This frequency depends on the number of polyps Dr. Palafox removes, as well as the results of the tests done on your polyps.

In these cases, Dr. Palafox sits down with you to come up with an appropriate timeline for follow-up tests.

To learn more about this potentially life-saving screening tool, call Maria Palafox, MD, or book an appointment online.