The colorectal specialists at Swedish have specialized training and expertise in screening, diagnosing and treating colon, rectal and anal disorders and diseases, including colon and rectal cancer. At Swedish, colonoscopy is performed thousands of times a year by colorectal surgeons and gastroenterologists—making Swedish's colorectal cancer screening program the largest in the Northwest.

How to prepare for colonoscopy

In many cases, people who have had colonoscopy will say that the procedure itself was fine, since it is performed while the patient is under sedation. However, people tend to feel less favorable about the prep involved prior to the procedure.  Dr. Rodney Kratz, a colorectal surgeon at Swedish Colon and Rectal Clinic, recently had his first colonoscopy. He offered to document his personal experience of the prep process on video to share with others.

A livestream to discuss the benefits of colonoscopy

Drs. Raman Menon and Nicholas Procaccini from Swedish Medical Center hosted a livestream to discuss the benefits of colonoscopy, and why it is important that everyone at age 50 get screened. Patients at risk and those with family members who have had colon cancer may need earlier screening. Visit the Livestream page to view the resulting colonoscopy video

How long does colonoscopy take?

This procedure takes approximately 30 minutes. It allows the physician to examine the inside of the rectum and the entire colon using a colonoscope. A colonoscope has a light and lens for viewing. It also has a tool to remove polyp tissue (or, if necessary during the colonoscopy, the entire polyp).

How it works

Like most colorectal screenings, colonoscopy requires that your colon be completely empty. A combination of liquid diet and laxatives may be prescribed to cleanse the colon before the procedure.

Where is it performed?

Colonoscopy is performed in an outpatient setting. To make the procedure as comfortable as possible, you will be given a sedative.

You will lay on your left side with knees drawn up to your chest. Blood pressure, heart rate and breathing are monitored during and after the test. The physician will gently insert the lubricated colonoscope into the rectum for a thorough examination of the rectum and colon.

What will happen if abnormalities are found?

If polyps or other abnormalities are found, a sample of tissue (biopsy) may be taken for further examination. Some general abdominal discomfort, such as cramps or bloating, may be experienced.