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Understanding Colonoscopy

What is a Colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is the visual examination of the lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum with a flexible camera.

What Happens During a Colonoscopy?

The doctor will speak with you prior to your exam to answer any questions you may have and to sign your consent form. The nurse will start an intravenous line in order to administer sedation for your procedure.

Monitoring equipment (heart monitor, oxygen saturation monitor, blood pressure cuff and nasal oxygen) will be attached. While lying on your left side, the nurse will administer medication via the intravenous line to sedate you and to decrease discomfort. Our goal is to keep you comfortable during the procedure. The doctor will then pass the colonoscope into the rectum and gently advance the instrument through the colon examining it completely. You may feel cramping and pressure during the procedure, but the majority of patients do not remember the procedure due to the sedation. The procedure takes about 20 to 45 minutes and the physician will be able to remove any polyps or take tissue samples as needed for analysis.

You will be monitored in the recovery area for approximately one hour after your procedure. Prior to your discharge, you will receive instructions on diet, medications and any follow-up that is needed. The physician will also discuss any findings with you at that time.

Contact Information

Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham
148 Chestnut Street
Needham, MA 02492
781-453-3000