Publication type: General, Factsheet
Department: Endoscopy Unit
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A colonoscopy is a camera test which takes about 15-45 minutes and enables the doctor to look at the lining of the whole of the inside of the large bowel (colon) and rectum. The instrument used is a long, narrow, flexible camera called a colonoscope. The colonoscope is passed through the anus (back passage). It may provide a visual diagnosis of ulceration or polyps (outgrowths of the bowel lining) which are normally benign(not cancerous). Any abnormality seen can be photographed and biopsies taken (samples of tissue) for examination in a laboratory to test for cancerous cells. This is done by passing biopsy forceps through the colonoscope and is quick and painless.