A colonoscopy is a procedure that allows the doctor to view the entire length of the large intestine (colon), and can often help identify abnormal growths, inflamed tissue, ulcers, and bleeding. It involves inserting a colonoscope, a long, flexible, lighted tube, in through the rectum up into the colon. The colonoscope allows the doctor to see the lining of the colon, remove tissue for further examination, and possibly treat some problems that are discovered.
Colonoscopy can assist in identifying problems with the colon, such as early signs of cancer, inflamed tissue, ulcers, bleeding, polyps, diverticula (pouches), strictures (narrowing), and foreign objects within the colon. It may also be used to determine the cause of unexplained chronic diarrhea or gastrointestinal bleeding or to evaluate the colon after cancer treatment.
A colonoscope, which is a long, flexible, lighted tube, is inserted through the rectum into the colon. In addition to allowing visualization of the internal colon, the colonoscope enables the doctor to irrigate, suction, inject air, and access the bowel with endoscopic instruments. During a colonoscopy, the doctor may remove tissue and/or polyps for further examination and possibly treat any problems that are discovered.