Colonoscopy is an examination procedure that displays the inside of the colon (the large intestine).
Colonoscopy is a test, whereby the doctor by means of a colonoscope (flexible fibre-optic instrument) views the lower part of the gastrointestinal tract (the rectum, the colon, and ending part of the small intestine). The colonoscope is inserted through the anus, in the rectum, further to the colon up to the cecum – a pouch connected to the junction of the small and large intestines.
At the beginning, the endoscope contains a light source and a small video camera, so the operator can look inside the organs through a monitor. The colonoscope also has a channel through which various instruments can be inserted. With these instruments, the operator can take a small sample (biopsy) from the mucosa for detailed examination, to remove polyps or to apply appropriate drugs. When examining only the initial part of the intestine, the procedure is called rectoscopy.
The following conditions can be confirmed or excluded by colonoscopy:
- Hemorrhoidal nodes
- Diverticular diseases (extensions of a part of the wall of the large intestine)
- An irregular bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory diseases of the large intestine such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- Cancer of the large intestine