Dr. Hugh Kendall, MD, CM, FRCSC (Gen. Surgery)


Literally 'looking into the colon" (Anything with 'oscopy' at the end means looking in to - if you look into someones sinuses, you perform a 'sinusoscopy') This section explains about how colonoscopy is performed, why it's performed, and how often. If you have the time, click link to our media page and watch the powerpoint presentation which goes in to greater detail.



Colonoscopy is an inspection, under sedation, of the large bowel (aka colon). It is a safe and effective means of evaluating the lining of the large bowel. The colonoscope is esentially a sterile, flexible, high definition camera, sending mages to a computer. You will receive a disc with these images after your procedure. Compared with other tests, colonoscopy is especially useful in detecting and removing abnormalities such as polyps, inflamation and cancers. The procedure is done under IV sedation., and lasts about 20 minutes. Your total time at Durham EndoSurgery Centre will be about two hours, which includes the check-in, procedure, recovery time, and time to discuss your results with your doctor before you go.



Colonoscopy is an excellent test if you have worrisome symptoms such as bleeding, weight loss, or anemia - but those colonoscopies are not 'screening'. Screening means doing colonoscopy in large groups of people who have no symptoms at all - on the assumption that a certain amount of disease is present within a population, and there is benefit to finding it early. By definition, it is not a 'screening' colonoscopy if you have any symptoms. We use colonoscopy, and other tests, to 'screen' the 'well' population for colon cancer - a disease that can be significantly advanced before it gives even its first symptom. Both men and women face a lifetime risk of nearly 5% for the development of colorectal cancer during their lifetime. Screening programs decrease risk of death from colon cancer by 50% or more, depending on your family history.


and how often?

Colonoscopy may be appropriate whenever you have a worrisome symptom; even if you have had a procedure in the recent past. You may be appropriate for colon cancer screening with stool testing alone (“FIT testing” – meaning Fecal Immunohistochemical Testing) if you have no relatives in your immediate family with colon cancer, you have never had a colonoscopy with removal of a polyp, and you currently have no symptoms. Your family doctor can send a requisition on your behalf. For people with a family history, there are specific guidelines as to when to consider colonoscopy. Unfortunately, guidelines vary between countries, and between provinces (and even between professional groups within Provinces!) The Canadian guidelines vary slightly, and we endorse the Canadian Association of Gastroenterolgy (CAG) guidelines, and the Cancer Care Ontario Guidelines.


and getting a drive home

Preparation instructions are available on this site through the link below, and can be translated into over 130 languages through the Google translate widget at the top of the preparation page. Because colonoscopy is performed with sedation, and although you may feel reatively normal , you remain impaired (just like being tipsy) for the remainder of the day. YOU WILL REQUIRE SOMEONE TO DRIVE YOU HOME. If you cannot get a family member or a friend to drive you home, there are taxi services in Durham that will drive both you and your car home, if you wish. (Durham EndoSurgery Centre has no financial interest in these services.) These services typically require you to book days ahead.