Q. Is a colonoscopy painful?
I was given anesthesia for a colonoscopy, and all I recall is getting on the examining table, feeling like I had a cocktail, and waking up in recovery as rested as if I had a late-afternoon nap on the beach.
The colonoscopy is the gold-standard procedure for colon-cancer detection. The colonoscope is a slender, flexible, lighted tube with a video camera at its tip. The examining physician inserts the tube into the rectum. The scope inflates the colon to provide a better view. The camera sends pictures of the inside of the colon to a TV monitor. The exam takes 30 to 60 minutes.
During the procedure, a doctor can remove most abnormal growths such as polyps with tiny tools passed through the scope. Most polyps are benign, but some can turn into cancer. By getting the polyps early, a colonoscopy can avoid a major operation.
Patients are given pain medication and a moderate sedative. Discuss sedation with your doctor in advance. People I know who’ve had the procedure have experienced different degrees of alertness, recall and discomfort.