After a colonoscopy, people are allowed to return to their regular diets and do not need to follow any special restrictions, according to WebMD. There is a small holding period of approximately 30 minutes after the procedure is completed during which patients are monitored for possible complications.
Some patients are required to forgo solid foods for several days before a colonoscopy according to their doctors' wishes, notes WebMD. Each patient must receive one or two enemas to completely clear out the lower intestine and rectum to allow the camera clear visibility into the colon. Sedative medications are administered intravenously to calm patients and ensure their comfort during the procedure. Doctors insert an extended tube into the anus and guide it through the intestines with the use of a camera that projects video images onto a television in the operating room.
According to WebMD, doctors are able to study the video footage to detect the presence of intestinal abnormalities such as polyps or bleeding. Patients are usually required to lie on their left side during the procedure and may be asked to adjust their position to help the doctor guide the colonoscope through the intestines. Tissue biopsies may be performed to rule out serious health complications if anything worrisome is spotted during the procedure.