What is a colonoscopy?

August 8, 2011

A colonoscope is a similar scope with much greater capabilities for removal of polyps because the scope allows examination of the entire length of the intestine. This scope allows the physician to evaluate for inflamed tissue, growths, ulcers, bleeding, and spasm. The main differences between the sigmoidoscopy and the colonoscopy are that the latter examines the entire colon and requires a sedative and a more extensive bowel-cleansing regimen.

The patient lies on his/her left side for the procedure and is given some medication to relieve the discomfort of the examination. The scope is inserted and slowly guided through the entire length of the colon. The physician examines the colon and the result is given to the patient at the end of the examination. If anything abnormal is found, the physician can remove a piece of it (biopsy), which is sent to the lab for further evaluation. Possible complications of colonoscopy are bleeding and puncture of the colon; however, these complications are very uncommon. This procedure takes between 30 and 60 minutes. The sedatives and pain medications protect the patient from feeling any discomfort during the examination. The patient generally needs to wait for 1-2 hours for the sedative to wear off. It is most safe for the patient if he/she brings someone to drive him/her home.

SEE ALSO: Cancer, Pain, Preventive care


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Category: Colorectal Cancer