First Time User? Enroll now.
Find Vaccine information, visitor restrictions, testing and additional resources
Home > Health Library > Colonoscopy
Colonoscopy is the inspection of the entire large intestine (colon) using a long, flexible, lighted viewing scope (colonoscope), which is usually linked to a video monitor. A colonoscopy may be done to screen for cancer or to investigate symptoms, such as bleeding.
Colonoscopy is done in the hospital or a doctor's office that has the necessary equipment. Preparation for the test includes emptying the bowels ahead of time using a laxative. The person undergoing colonoscopy is given medicine to relieve pain and to make them drowsy. The test usually takes 30 to 45 minutes, but it may take longer, depending upon what is found and what is done during the test.
A doctor will remove any small growths (polyps) found or collect a tissue sample (biopsy) from any abnormal area. The tissue is then analyzed by a pathologist.
Current as of: September 8, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Arvydas D. Vanagunas MD - Gastroenterology & Caroline S. Rhoads MD - Internal Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.