2016-06-16 15:16:51 UTC

Colonoscopy 101: What is a Colonoscopy?

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The Colon


  • The colon, or large intestine, is the last part of your digestive tract.
  • It starts at the cecum, which attaches to the end of the small intestine.
  • The colon is made up of a hollow tube about five feet long that:
    • Takes in water and minerals from digested food.
    • Ends in the rectum, the last part of the large intestine, which stores undigested solid waste
  • A colonoscopy is a test to look inside your colon.
  • A colonoscopy is done by a gastroenterologist, a doctor trained in looking at the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
  • The main tool used to look inside the colon is a colonoscope (see image below). 
    • The colonoscope is a long, thin (about the width of your little finger), flexible tube with a tiny camera and a light on the end. 
    • The colonoscope is long enough to look at all of the large bowel and even the lower part of the small intestine. 
  • A colonoscopy is a safe and effective way to look for GI health issues and sometimes even treat those health issues.
  • It’s important to get a high-quality colonoscopy. 
    • Keep in mind that high cost doesn’t necessarily mean high quality. 
    • Ask your doctor how often he or she reaches the end of the large intestine and how often he or she finds polyps. 

Source: The Endoscopy Division of FUJIFILM Medical Systems U.S.A., Inc.


© AGA, September 2017

©AGA, July 2016

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