Colonoscopy is the inspection of the entire large intestine
(colon) using a long, flexible, lighted viewing scope (colonoscope), which is
usually linked to a video monitor. A colonoscopy may be
done to screen for cancer or to investigate symptoms, such as bleeding.
Colonoscopy is done in the hospital or a doctor's office that has the
necessary equipment. Preparation for the test includes emptying the bowels
ahead of time using a laxative. The person undergoing colonoscopy is given medicine to relieve pain and to make him or her drowsy. The test usually
takes 30 to 45 minutes, but it may take longer, depending upon what is found
and what is done during the test.
A doctor will
collect a tissue sample (biopsy) from any abnormal area. The tissue is then
analyzed by a pathologist.