Colonoscopy allows for the imaging of the inner liner of the large intestine. The test is used for colon cancer screening and helps find ulcers, colon polyps, tumors, and areas of inflammation or bleeding. Regular screening typically begins at the age of 50 and reoccurs once every 10 years. Individuals considered high risk may begin screening at a younger age or be tested more frequently.
Prior to the procedure, the patient must undergo colon prep for 1-2 days. Plan to stay home during the prep, as it can cause loose, frequent stools and diarrhea. During a colonoscopy, a thin, flexible tube with a small video camera attached to it, is inserted into the colon and used to send images to a monitor. Patients are sedated prior to an exam and the exam lasts approximately 30 minutes.