A colonoscopy is a procedure in which your doctor examines the lining of your large intestine, or colon. The test is often recommended to screen for colorectal cancer, i.e. detect problems at an early stage, even before the patient recognizes symptoms. It is also used to evaluate symptoms such as rectal bleeding or diarrhea. Preparation for the procedure involves following certain dietary restrictions and taking a laxative to cleanse the bowel. Your GI will prescribe the preparation that is appropriate for you, and we ask that you follow directions to the best of your ability.
The better the prep, the more effectively your doctor can examine your colon. After the patient is sedated, a long, thin, flexible tube with it’s own camera and light source is inserted into the anus and advanced throughout the entire colon. During the procedure, biopsies (small tissue samples) can be taken and often small growths, or polyps, can be removed. Rare complications of the procedure include bleeding or perforation (or tear). As with all other procedures for which a patient is sedated, someone must accompany a patient home after a colonoscopy.
For more information, please refer to the ASGE (American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy) website.