Anesthesia for Colonoscopy

This information is useful for adults and older adults
Why Yale Medicine?
  • National leaders in clinical anesthesiology, academics and resident education.
  • Our anesthesiologists and nurse-anesthetists focus on patient comfort and safety.
  • We offer conscious sedation or general anesthesia, tailored to patients' needs.

If you are due to have a colonoscopy, you may have questions about the procedure as well as what type of anesthesia will be used.

A colonoscopy is a procedure in which a doctor examines your large intestine (also called your colon) to look for and remove growths that could be precancerous or cancerous. 

During the procedure, a doctor explores the colon with a colonoscope, which is a thin, flexible tube with a video camera attached to it. This instrument helps doctors look for growths such as polyps or tumors as well as inspect for inflammation, bleeding and ulcers. 

According to Ira G. Rock, MD, director of Out of Operating Room/Endoscopy Anesthesiology in the Department of Anesthesiology at Yale Medicine, there are two kinds of anesthesia used during colonoscopies. If you have conscious sedation, it is usually administered by the doctor who performs your colonoscopy. If you undergo general anesthesia (also known as full or deep sedation), you can expect to be monitored by a credentialed anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist.

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