How Is a Colonoscopy Performed?
When a colonoscopy is performed, some type of sedation may be used, along with IV pain medication to make the procedure more comfortable. The colonoscope is then inserted into your rectum. The scope, which is designed to span the entire length of the colon, is hollow so that carbon dioxide can be inserted to inflate the colon. The colonoscope will be slowly withdrawn once the last part of the small intestine (terminal ileum) or tip of the colon is reached.
A small camera attached to the scope allows images to be viewed on a monitor as the scope is being inserted. There may be some abdominal cramping or an urge to make a bowel movement that's felt as the procedure is performed. If necessary, additional medication may be given during the test. In some instances, the scope can be used to remove abnormal tissues or collect a biopsy sample to test. Polyps may also be removed during the procedure, which usually takes somewhere around half an hour to an hour to perform.