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Colonoscopy is a procedure used to evaluate the colon and rectum. By using the colonoscopy, the doctor can detect inflamed tissue, ulcers and abnormal growths of tissue.

Procedure is used to look for early signs of colorectal cancer and may help doctors diagnose unexplained changes in bowel habits, abdominal pain, bleeding from the anus and weight loss.

Colon and rectum are the two main parts of the intestine. Although the colon is only part of the large intestine and most of the large intestine consists of colon, the two terms are used alternative.


1. Overview
2. Why is colonoscopy done?
3. Colonoscopy’s risks
4. Necessary preparations for colonoscopy
5. Performing the procedure
6. What will you feel during colonoscopy
7. Interpretation of colonoscopy

Why is colonoscopy done?

Colonoscopy is done for a variety of reasons. Most often, this is done to discover the cause of blood in stool, abdominal pain, diarrhea, changes in bowel or colon abnormalities found in the following radiographs or computerized axial tomography.

People with a history of polyps or colon cancer, those who presents in family medical history, colon cancer or other problems that may be associated with colon (ulcerative colitis and colonic polyps) may be advised by specialists to constantly do colonoscopies, because there greater risks to show polyps or colon cancer.

Colonoscopies frequency depends on the risk and the anomalies found in previous colonoscopies. However, colonoscopy is recommended for healthy individuals including, after 50 years, every 10 years, in order to eliminate colon polyps before they become malignant.

Colonoscopy’s risks

Colonoscopy presents very little risk. Rarely, complications of colonoscopy include:

- reaction to the sedative used during the test
- bleeding at the site where it was harvested tissue sample for biopsy or from where a polyp has been removed or other abnormal tissue
- perforation or the presence of cracks in the wall of the colon or rectum

Necessary preparations for colonoscopy

For a complete and accurate procedure, the colon must be clean, with various preparations. Patients are given detailed instructions about preparing to empty the colon. It generally consists of consuming lots of special solution and a clear liquid diet for several days before the examination, they will use laxatives and will made enemas.

Instructions should be followed exactly as prescribed by the doctor or the result could be a thankless colonoscopy (colon mucosa may be covered with debris from the stool and can’t be visualized), requiring repeat colonoscopy or performing another test less accurate.

Performing the procedure

Preceding the colonoscopy, the doctor will insert an intravenous line through which he will provide medicines, which will induce relaxation and drowsiness. The patient will be given medicines that will sedates him in order to feel no pain, nor aware of the procedure.

The patient will be placed on the left side with knees to chest. The colonoscope is easily inserted through the anus to the colon. Simultaneously with colonoscope, air will be introduced to help its advance.

After colonoscope reached the point where it meets the large intestine thin, the doctor will remove it while he try to carefully analyze the lining of the colon. He can make pictures too. The procedure takes between 15 minutes and an hour.

If colon polyps are detected during colonoscopy, they are eliminated, and the tissue is sent for analysis (so you can determine if a polyp is cancerous or not). Polyp removal or biopsy can cause increased bleeding that requires blood transfusions or repeating the procedure to control bleeding.

What will you feel during colonoscopy

Investigation can be uncomfortable and you may feel discomfort during it. Preparing the colon for the procedure can cause diarrhea and cramping which may require use of the bathroom several times during the night.

During the test, the patient will be asleep and relaxed following the administration of anesthetics and analgesics. Can be felt cramping or sharp pain when colonoscope is introduced or when air is released in the colon.

After colonoscopy, the patient will be drowsy for several hours. After the investigation is likely to be present bloating, cramps caused by gas and could appear the desire to eliminate the gas. If a biopsy was performed or a polyp was removed, the blood may be present in feces several days after colonoscopy. If polyps were removed, the doctor will advise the patient not to use aspirin and NSAIDs for 7-14 days.

Interpretation of colonoscopy

- The negative result – a colonoscopy result is considered negative if your doctor finds no abnormality in the colon. If a person has an average risk of colon cancer, may be recommended to repeat the investigation after 10 years

- Positive result – The result of colonoscopys will be positive if the doctor finds any abnormal tissue or polyps in the colon. Most polyps are not cancerous, but some of them can be precancerous. Polyps removed during colonoscopy are analyzed in the laboratory to determine if cancerous, precancerous or benign

Depending on the size and number of polyps may be necessary to follow a rigorous screening program in the future. If your doctor detects polyps that were less than 1 cm in diameter, colonoscopy is repeated every 10 years, if it won’t occur other specific risk factors for colon cancer. If polyps are large, their number is large or if they have certain types of cells, your doctor may recommend repeat colonoscopy in 3-5 years, depending on the presence of other risk factors.

In the event that one or more cancerous polyps are removed during colonoscopy, the doctor may recommend another colonoscopy over three, six months or a year. Also, if there were polyps or abnormal tissue that could not be removed during colonoscopy, the doctor may repeat surgery.



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