During a colonoscopy, your doctor uses a thin, flexible camera to check for abnormalities or disease in your lower intestine or colon. The colon is the lowest portion of the gastrointestinal tract that takes in food, absorbs nutrients, and disposes of waste. The colon is attached to the anus via the rectum. The anus is the opening in your body where feces are expelled. During a colonoscopy, your doctor may also take tissue samples for biopsy. They may also remove abnormal tissue such as polyps.
Procedure: During the procedure, you will lie on your side on a padded examination table. Your doctor may position you with your knees close to your chest to get a better angle to your colon. While you are on your side and sedated, your doctor will guide a flexible, lighted tube called a colonoscope into your anus. Slowly and gently, they’ll guide it up through the rectum and into the colon. A camera on the end of the colonoscope transmits images to a monitor that your doctor will be watching. Once the scope is positioned, your doctor will inflate your colon using carbon dioxide gas. This gives them a better view.
Your doctor may remove polyps or a tissue sample for biopsy during this procedure. You’ll be awake during your colonoscopy, so your doctor will be able to tell you what’s happening. The entire procedure takes about 40 minutes to an hour.