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What is a colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that allows the doctor to examine the entire length of the large intestine. Colonoscopy can assist in identifying problems with the colon, such as early signs of cancer, inflamed tissue, ulcers, and bleeding. Colonoscopy is also used to screen for colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. and the fourth most common cancer in men and women.

A colonoscope, which is a long, flexible, lighted tube, is inserted through the rectum into the colon. In addition to allowing visualization of the internal colon, the colonoscope enables the doctor to irrigate, suction, inject air, and access the bowel with endoscopic instruments. During a colonoscopy, the doctor may remove tissue and/or polyps for further examination and possibly treat any problems that are discovered.

Why it's done

A colonoscopy may be used to examine the colon for polyps, tumors, ulceration, inflammation, diverticula (pouches), strictures (narrowing), and foreign objects within the colon. It may also be used to determine the cause of unexplained chronic diarrhea or gastrointestinal bleeding or to evaluate the colon after cancer treatment.

Colonoscopy may be indicated when the results of a barium enema and/or sigmoidoscopy warrant further examination of the colon. There may be other reasons for a doctor to recommend a colonoscopy.

Our approach

Northwell Health utilizes the latest generation of endoscopic equipment, providing the clinical staff with the widest possible angle of viewing during the procedure. While utilizing the most advanced imaging technology available, the clinical staff is able to create high-definition images that allow physicians to quickly detect lesions early in their development.

Facilities are also equipped with the most advanced scopes and accessories to improve safety when sampling and removing polyps. This includes certain features such as the use of hemostatic clips after a complicated polypectomy that helps reduce the risk of post-procedure bleeding.

All endoscopy units also have a board certified anesthesiologist, a board-certified gastroenterologist and staff that are certified in endoscopy equipment. This assures patients that Northwell Health has acquired the best tools and the best experts to deliver tailored care.

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