A colonoscopy is an diagnostic test that permits to visualise the inside of the colon (large intestine) and rectum, to detect possible problems or diseases.
Colonoscopy is performed with an instrument called a colonoscope, a flexible tube with a camera at the end. The colonoscope is inserted into the rectum and moved through the large intestine to the cecum.
After placing the colonoscope, air is introduced into the intestine and the instrument is slowly removed to examine the inside of the intestine with the camera.
During the process doctors can take pictures and collect samples of tissue with a small forceps to analyse them later (biopsy).
BEFORE THE PROCEDURE
The intestine must be completely clean for the colonoscopy. Patients will be asked to take enemas, laxatives or to avoid solid food the previous days. Patients need to drink plenty of clear liquids for 1 to 3 days before the test.
Also, if they have any chronic illness or regularly take medications, especially anticoagulants, they should inform the surgeon before surgery.
AFTER THE PROCEDURE:
Patients will be able to go home about 1 hour after the examination. After a colonoscopy, farting is quite frequent and patients could feel a slight stomach upset. Patients can return to their regular activities the next day.