Direct visual examination of the colon, ileocecal value, and portions of the terminal ileum by means of a fiberoptic endoscope. With the patient awake but sedated, a flexible endoscope is inserted per rectum and advanced through the various portion of the lower Gl tract. Important anatomic landmarks are identified and mucosal surfaces are examined for ulcerations, polyps, friable areas, hemorrhagic sites, neoplasms, structure, etc.
Relatively expensive procedure in comparison with the barium enema and other related endoscopic studies (EGD, Proctoscopy, Sigmoidoscopy). The quality of the study, and thus its interpretation, is highly dependent on the skill and experience of the edoscopist. It is also considered more technically difficult than upper endoscopy. Suboptimal studies are not uncommon and often are the result of inadequate bowel preparation.