Colonoscopy is a semi-invasive procedure that uses a long, flexible, narrow tube with a light and tiny camera on one end, called a colonoscope or scope, to look inside the rectum and entire colon.
Colonoscopy can show irritated and swollen tissue, ulcers, and polyps—extra pieces of tissue that grow on the lining of the intestine. The colonoscope is gently eased inside the colon and sends pictures to a TV screen.
Small amounts of air are puffed into the colon to keep it open and let the doctor see clearly.
The exam itself takes about 30 minutes. Patients are usually given medicine to help them relax and sleep while it’s done.