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A colonoscopy is a procedure to look at the inside of the colon. The colon is the large intestine and the last part of the digestive system. The colon dries, processes, and eliminates the waste left after the small intestine has absorbed the nutrients in food. The colon is about 3 to 5 feet long. It travels from the lower right corner of the abdomen (where the small intestine ends) up to the liver, across the body to the spleen in the upper left corner and then down to form the rectum and anus.
The doctor will use an instrument called the colonoscope to perform a colonoscopy. It is a long (about 3 ft), thin (about 1 in), flexible fiberoptic camera that allows the doctor to visualize the entire colon.
A doctor may order a colonoscopy to investigate many different diseases of the colon.
Colonoscopy is best known for its use as a screening tool for the early detection of colorectal cancer.
Colonoscopy is also used to investigate other diseases of the colon.
Colonoscopy is used when there is concern that a disease of the colon may exist.
Only doctors who specialize in the study of digestive or rectal diseases, have special training in endoscopy, and are certified to perform colonoscopy qualify to perform this procedure.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/21/2013
R Benjamin Saldana, DO
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