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A colonoscopy (COLE-un-AW-scuh-pee) is a way for doctors to look inside the digestive system. This is the system that carries food and waste through the body. The colon is an important part of this system, and doctors might need to see and treat it.

How is a colonoscopy done?

Your child will have their colonoscopy in the hospital. We will give them medicines to help them relax and sleep through the procedure.

To look inside the colon, the doctor puts a thin, flexible tube into your child’s body through their rectum (RECK-tum). The rectum is where bowel movements come out. The tube has a light and a camera on the end, so the doctor can see and take pictures. They can also put small instruments through the tube. They can use these instruments to take samples of tissue for testing or remove growths, if needed.

What is a polyp?

A polyp (POL-up) is a small growth on the lining of the colon. Some polyps are harmless, and others are cancer or can become cancer. So, doctors usually remove polyps when they find them. If so, you might notice a small amount of blood in a bowel movement or the toilet. If you see a lot of blood, call your doctor’s office.

Getting ready for a colonoscopy

Your child’s doctor needs to be able to see everything in the colon as clearly as possible. This sometimes means you need to get your child ready, such as by avoiding certain foods or drinks before the test. How to prepare depends on your child’s age, how much they weigh, and possibly other factors. Please follow the instructions from your child’s doctor and ask any questions you have.

Where to go for your colonoscopy

Please go to Patient Registration first, to pick up a patient identification armband and your child’s schedule. Then you and your child should go to the “pre-op” area.

Please arrive in the pre-op area at ________a.m./p.m. 

Directions to the pre-op area

Go to the Chili’s Care Center lobby. Take the elevator next to the Diagnostic Imaging waiting room to Floor 2. Turn right when you get off the elevator, and go through the double doors to the end of the hall. The last door on the right is the pre-op area. Please ring the doorbell.

What happens after the colonoscopy

Your child’s doctor will talk with you. Your child needs to stay at the hospital or clinic for a short time so we can make sure they are OK before they go home.

Your child’s throat might feel numb for about one (1) hour. Avoid letting your child eat or drink during this time. It might be dangerous because your child cannot feel the food or liquid.

Your child might also have difficulty keeping their balance after a colonoscopy. They should not drive after the test, if they are old enough to drive. The medicines they had for the procedure make it dangerous to drive.


Call the St. Jude GI Clinic at 901-595-5372, Monday–Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Before or after these hours, or on weekends and holidays, call the St. Jude Medicine Room at 901-595-2441.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).