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Find information about the following procedures performed at Carolinas Gastroenterology Centers:

Colonoscopy  |  Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)  |  Sigmoidoscopy

What is a Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is an internal examination of the colon (large intestine) and rectum, using an instrument called a colonoscope.

How the Test is Performed

The colonoscope has a small camera attached to a flexible tube. Unlike sigmoidoscopy, which can only reach the lower third of the colon, colonoscopy examines the entire length of the colon. You will lie on your left side with your knees drawn up toward the chest. After you have received a sedative and pain reliever, the colonoscope is inserted through the anus and gently advanced to the lowest part of the small bowel.

Air will be inserted through the scope to provide a better view. Suction may be used to remove fluid or stool. Because the health care provider gets a better view as the colonoscope is pulled back out, a more careful examination is done while the scope is being pulled out. Tissue samples may be taken with tiny biopsy forceps inserted through the scope. Polyps may be removed with electrocautery snares and photographs may be taken.

Why the Test is Performed

Colonoscopy may be used for the following reasons:


What is Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)?

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is an examination of the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and upper duodenum with a small camera (flexible endoscope) which is inserted down the throat.

Alternative Names: Esophagogastroduodenoscopy; Upper endoscopy; Gastroscopy.

How the Test is Performed

You will be given a sedative and an analgesic (painkiller). You should feel no pain and not remember the procedure. A mouth guard will be inserted to protect your teeth and the endoscope. Dentures must be removed. In most cases, an intravenous line will be inserted into your arm to administer medications during the procedure. You will be instructed to lie on your left side. After the sedatives have taken effect:

  • The endoscope is advanced through the esophagus (food pipe) to the stomach and duodenum. Air is introduced through the endoscope to enhance viewing.
  • The lining of the esophagus, stomach, and upper duodenum is examined, and biopsies can be taken through the endoscope. Biopsies are tissue samples that are reviewed under the microscope.
  • Different treatments may be performed, such as stretching or widening a narrowed area of the esophagus.

The test lasts about five to 20 minutes.

Why the Test is Performed

Your doctor may order this test if you have any of the following conditions or symptoms:

The test may also be used to obtain a tissue specimen for biopsy.


What is Sigmoidoscopy?


Sigmoidoscopy is an internal examination of the lower large bowel (colon) and rectum, using an instrument called a sigmoidoscope.

Alternative Names

Proctoscopy; Proctosigmoidoscopy; Rigid sigmoidoscopy

How the Test is Performed

During the test, you are positioned on your left side with your knees drawn up toward your chest. A gastroenterologist or surgeon will perform the test. First, the doctor does a digital rectal exam by gently inserting a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum to check for blockage and to dilate (gently enlarge) the anus.

Next, the sigmoidoscope -- a hollow tube through which the doctor can see-- is inserted into the rectum. Air is introduced into the colon to expand the area and help the doctor see better. The air may cause the urge to have a bowel movement.

The sigmoidoscope is advanced, usually as far up as the sigmoid colon or descending colon. Then, as the scope is slowly removed, the lining of the bowel is carefully examined. The hollow channel in the center of the scope allows for the passage of forceps for taking biopsies or for other instruments for therapy.

Sigmoidoscopy may be done using a rigid or flexible scope. Ask your doctor which procedure you are having.

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