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What is a Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy allows your physician to look inside the large intestine. The physician is able to see such things as inflamed tissue, abnormal growths and ulcers. This procedure is most often used to look for signs of cancer. 


What is the colon?

The colon is the largest portion of your Gl {Gastrointestinal} tract or digestive tract. The colon starts at the end of the small intestine and ends at the rectum or anus. The main function of the colon is to store unabsorbed food waste and to absorb water and other bodily fluids before waste is eliminated as stool. 


Preparation

You will be given detailed instruction when you schedule your procedure that will explain what is needed to prepare for your colonoscopy. Cleansing of the bowel is necessary before a colonoscopy and your colon must be completely empty for the procedure. 


The Procedure

For your colonoscopy, you will lie on your side and be given some medication for sedation to keep you comfortable and relaxed during the procedure. The doctor and nurse will monitor you closely during the procedure. The physician will than insert a flexible tube with a light into the rectum. The physician is able to see images of the colon on a video screen so the lining of the colon and be carefully examined. Abnormal growths such as polyps can be removed during this procedure as well as biopsy can be taken. The procedure usually takes about 20 minutes and most patients do not remember the procedure afterwards.

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