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What is Colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is a procedure that uses a long, flexible, narrow tube with a light and tiny camera on one end, called a colonoscope or scope, to look inside the rectum and entire colon. Colonoscopy can show irritated and swollen tissue, ulcers, and polyps—extra pieces of tissue that grow on the lining of the intestine.

A colonoscopy is performed to help diagnose:

  • changes in bowel habits
  • abdominal pain
  • bleeding from the anus
  • weight loss

The colonoscopy process consists of three basic parts:

  1. The day before the exam the patient must follow a clear liquid diet; otherwise the day’s activities are unrestricted.
  2. That evening the patient takes medication that will induce diarrhea to cleanse the colon for the next day’s exam.
  3. The next morning the patient is brought to the designated facility, where an IV is started. The patient is sedated in a monitored setting for the procedure.

The actual colonoscopy procedure involves passing a thin, flexible tube with a camera on the tip through the large intestine, or colon. The colonoscope inspects and potentially removes or biopsies polyps or abnormal growths.

Following the exam and a short recovery period, the patient is discharged from the facility and taken home by their designated escort. The patient is instructed to relax the rest of the day. Typically, there are no other restrictions.

Our physicians also perform colonoscopies as a screening test for colon cancer