2016-06-16 15:16:51 UTC

Colonoscopy 101: What is a Colonoscopy?

View PDF Copy PDF Link




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

More on Colonoscopy

2018 AGA Postgraduate Course

June 2, 2018

Secure your spot for this clinically focused, multi-topic course that offers immediately applicable information. Held in conjunction with DDW®. Save $75 when you register by April 18.

Choose from 30 breakout sessions at the 2018 AGA Postgraduate Course

March 21, 2018

Delve deeper into specific clinical topics that interest you and get concrete action items that can be immediately implemented into your practice.

Ready for the “Jimmy Kimmel effect”?

March 21, 2018

AGA leader Dr. Christina Ha performed Jimmy Kimmel’s first colonoscopy. Here’s the clip.