A Colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure which involves the examination of the inside of the large intestine (colon and rectum). A colonoscopy is commonly used to evaluate gastrointestinal symptoms, such as rectal and intestinal bleeding, abdominal pain, or changes in bowel habits. Colonoscopies are also performed in individuals for checking of colorectal polyps or cancer. A screening colonoscopy is recommended for anyone who is 50 years of age or above, and for anyone with parents, siblings or children with a history of colorectal cancer or ployps.
To have a successful colonoscopy, your bowel must be empty so that the doctor can clearly view the colon. It is very important that you read and follow all the instructions given to you for your bowel preparation well in advances of the procedure. If your bowel is not empty, then your colonoscopy will not be successful and may have to be repeated.
During a colonoscopy procedure, the doctor using a colonoscope (a long, flexible instrument about ½ inches in diameter) views the lining of the colon. The colonoscope is inserted into the rectum and advanced through the large intestine. If necessary during a colonoscopy,small amounts of tissue can be removed for analysis and polyps can be identified and entirely removed. In several cases, a colonoscopy allows accurate diagnosis and treatment of colorectal problems without the need for a major operation.
The colonoscopy procedure lasts from approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour.