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Screening and diagnostic colonoscopy

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Colonoscopy is a safe, effective method of examining the full lining of the colon and rectum, using a long, flexible, tubular instrument. It is used to diagnose colon and rectum problems and to perform biopsies and remove colon polyps. Most colonoscopies are done on an outpatient basis.

The entire procedure usually takes less than an hour. You might experience some slight discomfort after the colonoscopy, but most patients resume their regular diet and activities the same day.

Colonoscopy is routinely recommended to adults 50 years of age or older as part of a colorectal cancer screening program. Patients with a family history of colon or rectal cancer may have their colonoscopy at age 40. A colonoscopy may be necessary to:

  • Check unexplained abdominal symptoms
  • Check inflammatory bowel disease (colitis)
  • Verify findings of polyps or tumors located with a barium enema exam
  • Examine patients who test positive for blood in the stool
  • Monitor patients with a personal or family history of colon polyps or cancer.

Conditions Treated

Your physician may recommend a colonoscopy exam if you have change in bowel habit or bleeding, indicating a possible problem in the colon or rectum to help in diagnosing problems including:

  • Anal abscessess
  • Cancer
  • Constipation
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Diverticular disease
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Obstructive defecation
  • Pruritis Ani
  • Ulcerative colitis