Eisenhower Army Medical Center
Magnifying Glass

During the colonoscopy a flexible fiberoptic tube (colonoscope) is passed through the rectum into the lower intestinal tract. This procedure allows the doctor to examine the lining of the large intestines so as to identify any abnormalities.

You will be asked to sign a consent form authorizing the doctor to perform the procedure. Please let the doctor and GI nurse know if you are allergic to any medications. An IV will be placed in your arm vein prior to the procedure. Medicine will be injected through this needle to make you sleepy and relaxed. As you lay on your left side the doctor will examine your rectum with a gloved lubricated finger. Then he will insert the lubricated flexible colonoscope into your rectum. Pressure in your colon may give you a mild sensation of wanting to move your bowels. The doctor will carefully advance the colonoscope through the colon and examine the bowel lining thoroughly. You may feel some cramping like gas pains due to air that the doctor may be putting into your colon during the procedure. You may be asked to change positions during the procedure.

Often a biopsy specimen (small piece of tissue) may be taken for microscopic examination. You will not feel any sensation of discomfort when the biopsy is performed. If a polyp is found it will generally be removed by use of electrocautery and a piece will be sent to the laboratory for examination by the pathologist.

Many people do not recall any of the procedure because of the effect of the medicine. After the procedure you may feel drowsy and may sleep for a short time. Some patients may feel gas and bloating after the procedure due to air injected into the colon during the procedure. You will feel more comfortable after expelling this air.

The doctor will provide you with written report and instructions when you go home. Please feel free to ask the doctor or GI nurse or technician any questions you may have.