Minimally invasive exam of the colon
A colonoscopy is an internal examination of the colon (large intestine)
and rectum, using a thin, flexible tube with a camera called a colonoscope.
The doctor uses a video monitor to look for abnormalities such as ulcers,
polyps, tumors, or areas of inflammation or bleeding. If any irregularities
are found, they can be biopsied or removed.
This outpatient exam is often used to screen for colon cancer or to evaluate
symptoms such as abdominal pain, change in bowel habits or unexplained
weight loss, among other symptoms. It can be completed in less than an
hour and is performed under mild sedation to relieve any discomfort.
Colonoscopy for treatment
Colonoscopy can also be used to treat certain diseases, including removal
of polyps, widening narrowed areas or blockages, or addressing bleeding
from diverticula or lesions. Specialized procedures, such as laser surgery
or cauterizing techniques, may also be performed during a colonoscopy.