Colonoscopy is a procedure in which a flexible tube with a powerful light source is slowly passed through the rectum into the large bowel (colon) for direct examination.
- With Biopsy – colonoscopy in which a specimen of tissue is removed for examination by a pathologist.
- With Removal of foreign body – colonoscopy in which a foreign body is removed.
With polyp/tumor removal – colonoscopy in which a polyp (abnormal growth from the lining of the colon) is removed.
- With control of bleeding- colonoscopy in which medication or heat is used to stop bleeding.
What to expect:
Colonoscopy is well tolerated and rarely causes much discomfort. There is often a feeling of pressure, bloating, or cramping at times during the procedure. Your doctor may give you medication through a vein to help you relax and better tolerate any discomfort from the procedure. You will be lying on your side or back while the colonoscope is advanced slowly through the large intestine (colon). The colonoscope is then slowly withdrawn and the lining of the intestine is examined. The procedure usually takes 45-60 minutes. If the scope shows something abnormal the physician may take a biopsy specimen, may remove a polyp if one is found, or may use medication or heat treatment to stop any bleeding found. Remember that biopsies are taken for many reasons and do not necessarily mean that cancer is suspected.
The colon must be completely clean for the procedure to be accurate and complete. Your physician will give you detailed instructions about diet and the cleansing routine to be used. This usually consists of either the consumption of a large volume of a special cleansing solution or several days of clear liquids, laxatives and enemas prior to the examination. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully, or the examination may need to be repeated. You will also need to refrain from taking any blood thinners or any medication containing aspirin or ibuprofen for 5 days before your procedure. If you receive any sedation, you will need someone to take you home since it would not be safe for you to drive.