Overview

This procedure is used to remove abnormal growths, called polyps, from the colon. Polyps are usually benign, but some can develop into cancer. The physician uses a colonoscope, a small, lighted camera inside a soft, flexible tube, which is inserted into the rectum. The procedure usually lasts from 30 minutes to an hour.

Preparation

The patient is given pain medication and a sedative to aid relaxation, and is positioned on his or her side. The colonoscope is inserted into the rectum and slowly guided into the colon. Air may be pumped through the colonoscope to inflate the colon.

Removing the Polyp

The physician locates the polyp and removes it with a surgical laser or a wire snare.

End of Procedure and Aftercare

The colonoscope is carefully removed from the colon. The patient is carefully observed until the sedative wears off. The patient may experience some cramping, bloating, or gas after the procedure. Full recovery usually occurs in a day and patients can return to regular activities.