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A Colonoscopy is an examination of the lower part of the gastrointestinal tract, which is called the colon or large intestine (bowel). Colonoscopy is a safe procedure that provides information other tests may not be able to give. Patients who require colonoscopy often have questions and concerns about the procedure.

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Colonoscopy is performed by an endoscopist, who is a doctor with special training in endoscopy procedures. The colonoscope is inserted into the anus and advanced through the entire colon (to the cecum) and possibly a short distance into the small intestine . The procedure generally takes between twenty minutes and one hour.


Complications from colonoscopy are rare. There is a slight risk of puncturing the colon or causing severe bleeding by damaging the wall of the colon and cardiac, respiratory and blood pressure problems. There is also a slight risk of causing a colon infection.

How The Test Is Done ?

Before colonoscopy is done sedatives will be given to make the person more comfortable during the procedure. The person is made to lie on one side with knees flexed toward the abdomen. First a rectal exam with the finger is done and then the colonoscope is inserted through the anus into the large intestine. The instrument is advanced through the colon until it comes to the place where the colon meets the small intestine, on the right lower part of the abdomen. Then air is passed through the colonoscope to gently inflate the colon for a clear view of the entire circumference of the wall of the colon on a TV monitor. Additional sedatives may be given if needed.

If any abnormalities are seen, photographs and a biopsy or a tissue sample may be taken. Colonoscopy is also used to remove small colorectal polyps.

How To Prepare For A Colonoscopy ?

In order for the doctor to get a good look at the intestinal wall, the colon must be fairly empty. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to use laxatives and enemas before the procedure to cleanse the bowel. It may also be necessary to follow a liquid diet for 1 or 2 days before the procedure, and fast after midnight the night before the test. You will be sedated during the procedure, so you should arrange for someone to take you home and help you to follow instructions.

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