What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is where the doctor uses an instrument called a colonoscope to look at the inside of your large bowel. This is done to see if there are any growths, polyps, cancers or disease in your bowel.
A colonoscope is a long, thin, flexible tube with a small camera and light attached which allows the doctor to see the pictures of the inside of your bowel on a video screen. The scope bends, so that the doctor can move it around the curves of your colon. The scope also blows air into your bowel, so that the doctor can see better. As a result, you might feel some pressure, bloating or cramping during the procedure.
This instrument can also be used to remove or burn growths or polyps and/or to take tissue biopsies.
This procedure starts from your back passage (anus) and goes to the right side of your bowel (ascending colon). You will lie on your side or back while the doctor slowly passes the colonoscope along your large bowel to look at the bowel lining. The lining will be looked at again as the colonoscope is taken out.
You should plan on two to three hours for waiting, preparation and recovery. The procedure itself usually takes anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes.
This procedure may or may not require a sedation anesthetic.