What to Know About Getting a Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy can be a life-saving procedure that detects cancer. It is not always something that patients look forward to, but it is an easy and effective way to prevent colon cancer before it becomes deadly. By knowing what to expect, it can alleviate any concerns there may be about going through the process.

Who Should Have a Colonoscopy?

Men and women should have the procedure at age 50. It should be repeated once every five to ten years until the age of 75. It may be necessary to have the procedure done more frequently, depending on what the doctor finds.

Those who have an immediate relative who has been diagnosed with colon cancer or polyps before the age of 60 should start the screening at age 40. Anyone who has a disorder that may predispose them to the risk of cancer, such as ulcerative colitis, may require a colonoscopy at an earlier age, which will be determined by a physician.

What Should Be Expected Prior to the Procedure?

Before everything begins, only clear foods and liquids can be consumed. This will include water, broth, coffee with no cream, gelatin, tea, and clear juices. Do not consume anything that is red, blue, or purple. The doctor may also require the patient stop certain medications for a period of time before the procedure. It may be necessary to take an antibiotic in certain circumstances.

A bowel prep will have to be done to get a good view of the colon. This will typically start on the day before, and it will include one of the following:

– A prepared laxative solution that can be mixed with an electrolyte solution or sports drink

– A laxative pill that is to be taken with fluids

– An enema that washes out the colon

Always be sure to complete the prep as instructed by the doctor. If this is not done per specifications, the doctor will not be able to see the colon clearly.

What Will Happen During the Colonoscopy?

During the procedure, the patient will be sedated with anesthesia. If there are things that the doctor is concerned about, he or she will remove anything they may see. A biopsy may also be taken for examination. The procedure may take anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes.

Afterward, the patient will rest for up to 60 minutes while the sedation wears off. The patient should have someone to drive him or her home because the sedation medication will make the patient drowsy. There may be some minimal discomfort and cramping.

Having a colonoscopy is an important part of maintaining good overall health. Follow the instructions per the doctor in order to lower the risk of cancer or other ailments.

Joint Replacement: A Brief Medical History

In any mechanical entity, whether it’s a bicycle or a biplane, the components most likely to fail are those subject to continuous wear and tear. It is the parts that endure the stress of motion, often located where two parts intersect. In the human body, it’s no different. While skin and bone can break from acute impact, the hinges of the human body where bones connect are at risk of little more than normal function and time. As a result, joint replacement is one of the more common types of prosthetic surgeries available in the United States.

Surgeons have been working to replace missing or ailing body parts for millennia. Egyptian mummies have been found with wooden toes, fingers, and limbs attached with leather straps. Joint replacement, or arthroplasty as it is known in the surgical community, was experimented with but not successful until the 19th Century. In 1822, Dr. Anthony White, working out of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, was responsible for the first excision operation that removed the leg portion of a patient’s hip socket. While this preserved mobility, it left the connecting tissue perilously unstable. The first artificial implants and replacements were experimented with only a generation after Dr. White, but septic complications and infection rendered the vast majority of these operations unsuccessful. It wasn’t until 1890 that Dr. Themistocles Gluck completed the first successful joint replacement when he implanted the first artificial knee. In 1891, Dr. Gluck successfully performed a hip replacement. In both cases, the implants were made of ivory and fixed to the bone with nickel plates and screws.

A seminal figure in surgery, largely responsible for the modernization of both the materials and methods used today, is Sir John Charnley. Charnley was an army surgeon during the Second World War, where he served in Cairo. His experiences during the war spurred his interest in prosthetics to improve the mobility and well-being of recovering soldiers. In the early 1960s, Charnley was given control of the surgical center at Wrightington Hospital in Lancashire. One of his major breakthroughs was to disprove the prevailing belief at the time that friction, which greatly inhibited the long-term viability of joint replacement, could only be reduced by fluids lubricating the interface of bones. Charnley showed that it was actually the friction coefficient of the bones themselves that reduced wear. With this knowledge, he sought out an ideal material, eventually settling on High-Molecular-Weight Polyethylene, an early form of plastic. This advancement not only allowed for longer-lasting implants, but it also enabled them to be manufactured mechanically at a lower cost. Charnley was knighted in 1977 for his contributions to medicine.

Today, hip replacement surgery is one of the most commonly performed medical procedures in first-world countries. Joint replacement procedures allow millions of people around the globe to continue mobility into old age. Without the pioneering efforts of men like John Charnley, these advancements would not be possible.