Is there such thing as a painless colonoscopy?

This question was asked in Manhattan, New York on 02/10/2012.
Is colonoscopy a painless procedure? If not then what are the other ones that are painless? Is an endoscopy or sigmoidoscopy painless too? I'm in my late 40s and want to get screened because there is history in my family of colon cancer and other problems. Are they going to put me under for this operation?

Doctors Answers (3)

Harsha Vittal, M.D.
Answered on: 2/24/2012

Most colonoscopies are painless. You might have some slight discomfort because of gas which passes after the procedure. Colonoscopy is the only test indicated if you have a family history. Also, it is the best tolerated procedure.

David Myles Nolan
Answered on: 2/13/2012

There is always a certain amount of discomfort associated with colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy and even virtual colonoscopy. For colonoscopy most practicioners will give moderate sedation to take away the sypmtoms of pain and help you not suffer through the procedure. Depending on the picture and the endoscopist, general anesthesia can be used also in the form of propofol (but only under the supervision of a trained anesthesiologist). This latter option does tend to cost more to you since you are paying for 2 physician fees, but is the most comfortable way of getting the procedure done.

Shahram Javaheri, M.D.
Answered on: 2/13/2012

Absolutely. Almost all colonoscopies are performed using some form of sedation. A properly sedated patient should not experience any significant discomfort. The type of sedation used will depend on your physician's choice, either conscious sedation using a combination of a short acting sedative (such as Versed) and an opioid analgesic (such as Fentanyl or Demerol). Another type of a very effective sedative (deeper sedation) which is now being used more is Propofol.