What Is A Colonoscopy?

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    If everyone aged 50+ had regular screenings, more than one half of deaths from colon cancer would be avoided.

    A colonoscopy is an internal examination of the colon using an instrument called a colonoscope. The colonoscope is a small camera attached to a flexible tube.

    Colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure and is our preferred method of colon cancer screening because it allows accurate diagnosis and treatment without causing pain or discomfort to the patient.

    Most colon cancers start as non cancerous growths called polyps. If the polyps are removed, then the cancer may be prevented. Colonoscopy is more accurate than an x-ray exam of the colon to detect polyps or early cancer. With colonoscopy, it is now possible to detect and remove most polyps and major abdominal surgery can usually be avoided.

    In addition to colon cancer screening, colonoscopies are commonly used to evaluate bowel disorders, rectal bleeding, unexpected weight loss and change in bowel habits such as diarrhea or constipation. If necessary during a colonoscopy, small amounts of tissue can be removed for analysis (called a biopsy) and polyps can be identified and removed.

    During a colonoscopy, we use a colonoscope (a long, flexible instrument about 1/2 inch in diameter) to view the lining of the colon. You are given a sedative and pain killer during the procedure. Most of our patients experience no discomfort at all.

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    For more information about colorectal cancer, contact the Houston colorectal surgeons at the Colorectal Surgical Associates today.