A colonoscopy is a test where a hollow tube with a camera, light, and instruments is inserted into the colon by way of the anus. It allows the doctor to view the entire colon and often times the end of the small intestines known as the terminal ileum
. It is an excellent means to diagnose Inflammatory bowel disease located in the colon or terminal ileum or observe treatment progress.
One of the advantages of a colonoscopy is the ability for the doctor to take biopsies. Forceps are passed through the colonoscope and a small sample of tissue is taken that can be evaluated by a pathologist.
- Results are instantaneous
- Allows the doctor to see the kind of inflammation as well as area and extent
- Very high resolution, combined with true color
- Biopsies (tissue samples) can be taken at the same time
- Requires extensive patient preparation (see colonoscopy prep)
- Small risk of complications
Colonoscopy Versus other Tests
For detecting Crohn's Disease, one study found the following:
The sensitivity and specificity was as follows, respectively: CTE = 82%/89%; ileocolonoscopy = 83%/100%; capsule endoscopy = 74%/53%; and small bowel follow-through = 65%/94%
Watch Polypectomy (Polyp Removal) Video
See a video from the American College of Gastroenterology showing polyp removal HERE
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