During colonoscopy, the entire colon is examined using a flexible endoscope. Sedation is given through an intravenous line to maintain comfort. The endoscope has a video chip at its tip that allows the physician to see the colon lining on a monitor. If a colon polyp is found it will be removed or obliterated. Biopsies may be taken if other abnormalities are seen.

A strict, clear liquid diet must be followed and laxatives taken on the day before a colonoscopy. Enemas are not required.

Colonoscopy is a safe, routine procedure. Complications are very infrequent, especially for healthy patients undergoing screening, but include reactions to sedation, bowel perforation and bleeding.

Colonoscopy is the “gold standard” procedure for colon cancer screening and prevention. It is also used to investigate rectal bleeding, diarrhea, anemia and abdominal pain.

Colonoscopies are performed at the Endoscopy Center of Marin and at Marin General Hospital.