A colonoscopy is most commonly performed for colon cancer screening. Colonoscopy is also performed to evaluate and treat problems of the lower GI tract.
After monitored anesthesia care (MAC) or IV (intravenous) sedation is administered, a rectal exam is performed. A thin, flexible tube, or endoscope, is then inserted through the anus and advanced to the end of the colon, and occasionally into the distal part of the small intestine (called the ileum). The endoscope is equipped with a camera and has a channel to allow insertion of air to visualize the colon. Any remaining liquid stool can also usually be suctioned. The endoscope also has ports to allow the physician to perform different procedures, such as biopsies, and polypectomies (removal of polyps).
You will be allowed to drink ONLY clear liquids for 1-2 days prior to the colonoscopy. The day prior to the colonoscopy, you will receive laxatives that will initiate several bowel movements to cleanse the colon in preparation for the procedure. Your doctor will give you instructions for your bowel preparation at the time you schedule your colonoscopy appointment. Your doctor may also ask that you refrain from taking certain medications, such as aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-platelet agents, warfarin (Coumadin), or other blood thinners.