This video explains what you can expect during your colonoscopy procedure. The first and most important step before your colonoscopy is to complete your bowel prep, so that your colon is thoroughly cleansed and empty. For the colonoscopy procedure, you will be given a sedative (if desired) so you can relax, and your vital signs will be carefully monitored. You will be placed on your left side on the examining table. Your doctor will start with a rectal examination, and then carefully insert the colonoscope into your anus, rectum, and then guide it through the entire colon. The colonoscope is then slowly pulled back while the doctor carefully examines the lining of your bowel. The last part of the colonoscopy procedure involves retroflexion of the head of the colonoscope in order to examine the rectum prior to exiting. If your doctor finds polyps or suspicious areas during the colonoscopy, the polyps will be removed and small tissue samples will be taken (called biopsy). Once the procedure is completed, you will be taken to rest in a recovery room. The entire procedure should take 15 to 30 minutes, however the amount of time needed may vary from patient to patient, depending on anatomical differences in colon length, ease of moving the scope through the colon, and whether polyps are detected and removed.
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This educational activity has been developed by Mechanisms in Medicine Inc. This activity is endorsed by the Colon Cancer Coalition.
This activity is supported by an independent educational grant from Boston Scientific and Ferring Pharmaceuticals.
This website is part of the Animated Patient™ series developed by Mechanisms in Medicine Inc., to provide highly visual formats of learning for patients to improve their understanding, make informed decisions, and partner with their health care professionals for optimal outcomes.