A colonoscopy is an examination of the lining of the colon with a lighted, flexible tube about the thickness of your finger. The doctor will insert the tube through your rectum, then up through your colon to check for abnormalities. If necessary, an instrument can be passed through the tube to take a small piece of tissue (a biopsy) for examination in the lab. Biopsies are done for many reasons and do not necessarily imply cancer. Often during this process of diagnosis, your doctor may perform other minor procedures, such as polyp removal.
In the preparation/reception area you will answer questions about your health history, current medicines and allergies. You will sign a consent form.
After you change into a hospital gown, a nurse will start an intravenous line (IV). The IV will be used to give you medication to make you more comfortable during the procedure.
The procedure will be performed in a room specially designed for endoscopic procedures. Equipment that will help the nurse and doctor monitor your heartbeat and breathing will be connected to you.
You will be asked to lie on your left side. You will then be sedated before the doctor passes the lubricated tube into your rectum. As the tube passes through the curves of your colon, you may feel pressure or discomfort. You will receive medication throughout the procedure to keep you comfortable. The doctor will put air into your colon in order to see the lining.
You may have some bloating or abdominal discomfort from the air. You may feel as though you have to have a bowel movement. Pass the air if you feel the need. The doctor will remove as much air as possible after the procedure. If biopsy and/or polyp removal is necessary, you should experience no pain.
A doctor specially trained in gastrointestinal procedures will perform the test. The doctor who ordered your procedure will make decisions regarding your plan of care.
Complications are rare. However, there are potential complications associated with all medical procedures. These will be explained to you at the time you sign your consent for the procedure.
Patient Information: colonoscopy