The colonoscopy procedure is a diagnostic procedure that allows the physician to examine the entire length of the large intestine. Colonoscopy can assist in identifying problems with the colon, such as early signs of cancer, inflamed tissue, ulcers and bleeding. The colonoscopy procedure is also used to screen for colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US and the fourth most common cancer in men and women.
Prior to the procedure, colonoscopy prep includes cleansing the bowels with a special cleansing solution. An endoscope, which is a long, flexible, lighted tube (also called a colonoscope) is inserted through the rectum into the colon. In addition to allowing visualization of the internal colon, the colonoscope enables the physician to irrigate, suction, inject air and access the bowel with surgical instruments. During the colonoscopy procedure, the physician may remove tissue and/or polyps for further examination and possibly treat any problems that are discovered.