A colonoscopy is a common procedure used to examine the entire large intestine. It is the primary method used to screen for colon and rectal cancers in patients.
Why would I have a colonoscopy?
Your doctor may schedule a colonoscopy for several reasons: to diagnose inflamed tissue, abnormal growths and ulcers — and of course, a colonoscopy is most often used to look for early signs of cancer in the colon and rectum, especially for our patients 50 years or older. If you’re experiencing abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, unexplained changes in bowel habits or weight loss, your doctor may schedule a colonoscopy to determine what’s causing your symptoms — so that we can treat them effectively.
What will happen during my procedure?
During a colonoscopy, which lasts 30-60 minutes, your doctor will use a colonoscope — a long, flexible, tubular instrument about 1/2 inch in diameter — to view the lining of the colon so the doctor can examine it for any abnormalities. You will be given some medicine to help you feel relaxed and drowsy and will lie on your side as the colonoscope is inserted through the rectum and advanced to the other end of the large intestine. If the doctor sees something that may be abnormal, small amounts of tissue can be removed for analysis, and abnormal growths — called polyps — can be identified and removed.
In many cases, colonoscopy allows accurate diagnosis and treatment without the need for a major operation. Full recovery by the next day is expected and you may return to your regular activities.