2016-06-16 15:34:28 UTC

Colonoscopy 105: During

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Before Your Colonoscopy 

Your doctor will tell you more specifically what you can expect during the test. Some things may include:

  • A nurse will review your medical history, medications and allergies.  
  • You will change into a hospital gown. 
  • Your doctor will review the consent form for the test, answer any of your questions and ask you to sign the form, which says you understand the test being done.
  • An intravenous (IV) line will be started (to give you IV fluids and medicine to make you feel sleepy during the exam). 

During Your Colonoscopy 


The Colonoscope


  • The doctor will use a colonoscope (a long, thin [about the width of your little finger], flexible tube with a tiny camera and light on the end) to be able to see inside.
  • The colonoscope is long enough to look at all of the large bowel and even the lower part of the small bowel.
  • Your doctor will put it in as far as it can go without hurting you.
  • You will be given medicine to block pain and make you relaxed and sleepy (or totally asleep), so you won’t feel much during the colonoscopy.
  • During the test, everything will be done to make sure that you are at ease, safe and comfortable.  
  • Once you are fully relaxed, the doctor will do a rectal exam with a gloved, lubricated finger.
  • Next, the lubricated colonoscope will be gently and carefully placed into your rectum, passing through the anus. Generally, it will not hurt.
  • Air will be passed through the colonoscope to expand the bowels so that the doctor can see better. You may feel the need to move your bowels or some cramping or fullness.
  • In some cases, the doctor may need to do a biopsy (taking a small piece of tissue to look at under the microscope). You will not feel this. 
  • The time it takes to do a colonoscopy varies, based in part on what is found and what is done. 
    • If a polyp is found, your doctor will usually remove it using tools in the colonoscope. This will take more time.
  • After the doctor is done looking inside, the endoscope will be removed and you will wake up in recovery as the medicine wears off. 
Colonoscopy – What to Know:
  • A colonoscopy is a safe and effective test to look at your colon and rectum.
  • You will be given a medicine to make you feel sleepy (or totally asleep) for your colonoscopy.
  • A thin, flexible tube with a light and camera on the end is put into your rectum.
  • This test is used to look for and prevent colon cancer and can also find the cause of other gastrointestinal (GI) health issues.
  • Talk to your doctor to ensure you are getting a high-quality colonoscopy.


© AGA, September 2017

©AGA, July 2016

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