Colonoscopy

What if there are abnormalities detected during colonoscopy?

If an abnormal area needs to be better evaluated, a biopsy forceps can be passed through a channel in the colonoscope and a biopsy (a sample of the tissue) can be obtained. The biopsy is submitted to the pathology laboratory for examination under a microscope by a pathologist. If infection is suspected, a biopsy may be obtained for culturing of bacteria (and occasionally viruses or fungus) or examination under the microscope for parasites. If colonoscopy is performed because of bleeding, the site of bleeding can be identified, samples of tissue obtained (if necessary), and the bleeding controlled by several means. Should there be polyps, (benign growths that can become cancerous) they almost always can be removed through the colonoscope. Removal of these polyps is an important method of preventing colorectal cancer, although the great majority of polyps are benign and do not become cancerous. None of these additional procedures typically produce pain. Biopsies are taken for many reasons and do not necessarily mean that cancer is suspected. Continue Reading

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Reviewed on 7/15/2014
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