Colonoscopy

This technique uses a video camera mounted in the end of the scope to render recordable images and color photos of the colonic mucosa. It requires that the colon be devoid of stool and the patient be sedated. The main advantage of this technique over barium enema (BE) is that is allows for surgical intervention. Tumors can be biopsied, cauterized and even removed using different instruments which can be inserted into the endoscope port. However it requires more technical skill to perform than BE. It may even prove to be impossible to perform in some patients, women (31%) usually more often than men (16%), due to the inherently larger colons of some women. Diverticular disease can also complicate the exam. Sensitivity of colonoscopy is not 100%, usually due to rapid transit time across certain areas of the colon, such as the flexures and the rectosigmoid junction.

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