A colonoscopy is a routine screening test recommended for all adults ages 45 and older for prevention of colon cancer. Cleveland Clinic experts use a colonoscopy to look for changes in cells of the colon (large intestine), bleeding and colon growths (polyps).

Colon cell changes and polyps can be challenging to evaluate because of their size and appearance. Our specialists have the experience and clinical expertise to differentiate normal colon changes from colon inflammation and signs of cancer.

Why Choose Us for a Colonoscopy?

Our gastroenterologists (doctors who treat the digestive system) and colorectal surgeons offer rapid diagnosis of colon cancer so you can begin needed treatment right away. Program highlights include:

  • Skilled providers: Our board-certified doctors and surgeons have additional education and training in finding, diagnosing and treating colorectal cancer. We are experts at evaluating growths (polyps) and bleeding in the colon. Meet our team.
  • Personalized care: Our providers may do thousands of colonoscopies each year, but you’re never just another patient. Our team goes the extra mile to help you feel comfortable at every step.
  • Quality focus: We hold ourselves accountable for the quality of our colonoscopy procedures. We make sure our healthcare providers have all the time they need to thoroughly examine every person.
  • Sophisticated equipment: Our providers use the newest tools to view and examine the detail of all colon polyps. We use these detailed views to determine if we should remove polyps during colonoscopy.
  • Convenience and privacy: We offer colonoscopy at locations throughout communities near you. Our friendly team members greet you and answer your questions before your procedure takes place in a private room.
  • Continuous improvement: We monitor how effective our procedures are in detecting polyps. We also continuously research the best ways for you to prepare for the procedure to ensure the highest-quality colonoscopy.
  • National recognition: U.S. News & World Report ranked our cancer program among the top five cancer programs in the U.S. When you choose Cleveland Clinic for your care, you’re choosing one of the nation’s best hospital systems.

Conditions We Diagnose With Colonoscopy at Cleveland Clinic

Colon polyps are growths that form in the lining of the colon. These growths may also form in the rectum. Over time, polyps may become colorectal cancer.

Cancers of the colon and rectum (colorectal cancer) are highly treatable when caught early. That’s why experts recommend a colonoscopy every 10 years for people who are at average risk for colon cancer. If colon cancer runs in your family, your healthcare provider may recommend more frequent screenings.

We use colonoscopies to find and examine polyps. Our experts often remove any polyps they find during the same procedure. Colonoscopy also helps our specialists diagnose conditions like:

Our experts also use a colonoscopy to diagnose causes of rectal bleeding. These causes may include:

What to Expect During Your Colonoscopy at Cleveland Clinic

During a colonoscopy, specialists use a flexible tube with a light and camera (colonoscope) to view your colon. If you choose, we give you medication (anesthesia) so you’ll be asleep during the procedure. The colonoscopy procedure includes:

Colonoscopy prep

A few weeks before your procedure, your provider will talk with you about how to prepare for your colonoscopy, including the bowel preparation instructions you will need to follow. It’s important that your intestine (bowel) is empty so your provider can see the detail of your colon. During the day (or night) before your colonoscopy, we have you drink a solution that helps you completely empty your bowel.

We work with you to make sure you’re able to prepare for colonoscopy in an effective way that’s comfortable for you. Talk with your provider if you have any concerns about how to prepare.

Be sure to let your provider know about all medications you take, including any over-the-counter supplements. You may need to stop taking them prior to this screening.

Colonoscopy procedure

Specialists use a colonoscope to see detailed views of your colon and rectum. Most people choose to have anesthesia and are not awake during the procedure. Talk with your healthcare provider if you have concerns about anesthesia.

If our experts need to remove polyps during colonoscopy, they insert instruments through the colonoscope to remove tissue. Most colonoscopies take less than one hour.

After your colonoscopy at Cleveland Clinic

Once our specialists complete the colonoscopy, you’ll stay in a recovery room until you wake up from anesthesia. It’s important to bring someone with you to drive you home.

If you stopped taking medications, your healthcare provider will tell you when you can begin taking them again and resume your activities.

Other Colon Screenings at Cleveland Clinic

Our experts recommend colonoscopy for most people. But if colonoscopy isn’t right for you, we may recommend:

You can also ask your healthcare provider if an at-home stool DNA test such as Cologuard® is right for you. You collect a stool sample at home and send it to a laboratory to see if any abnormal cells are present. Screening with a stool DNA test may be an option if you are 45 or older and have an average risk of colorectal cancer.

Request an Appointment

We offer colonoscopies at many of our locations across Ohio and Florida. To learn more about how we use colonoscopy at Cleveland Clinic and schedule your appointment, please choose from the following:

Colonoscopy locations