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Colonoscopy

 

A colonoscopy is an exam that views the inside of the colon (large intestine) and rectum, using a tool called a colonoscope.  The colonoscope has a small camera attached to a flexible tube that can reach the length of the colon.

 

How the Test is Performed ?

 

You will usually be given medicine into a vein to help you relax. You should not feel any discomfort.  You will be awake during the test and may even be able to speak, but you probably will not remember anything.

 

You will lie on your left side with your knees drawn up toward your chest. The colonoscope is inserted through the anus.  It is gently moved into the beginning of the large bowel and slowly advanced as far as the lowest part of the small intestine.

 

Air will be inserted through the scope to provide a better view. Suction may be used to remove fluid or stool.

 

The health care provider gets a better view as the colonoscope is moved back out. Therefore, a more careful exam is done while the scope is being pulled back. The doctor may take tissue samples with tiny biopsy forceps inserted through the scope.  Polyps may be removed with snares, and images may be taken. Specialized procedures, such as laser therapy, may also be done.

 

How to Prepare for the Test ?

 

You will need to completely cleanse your intestines. A problem in your large intestine that needs to be treated may be missed if your intestines are not cleaned out.

 

Your health care provider give you the steps for cleansing your intestines. This may include using enemas, not eating solid foods for 2 or 3 days before the test, and taking laxatives.