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Endoscopy vs Colonoscopy – What’s the Difference?

Aetna Colonoscopy 45

Endoscopy is a nonsurgical procedure to examine the digestive tract.  A colonoscopy is a type of endoscopy that examines the lower part of your digestive tract that includes the rectum and large intestine (colon).


Most endoscopy procedures use an instrument called an endoscope.  An endoscope is a long, thin, flexible tube with a camera on the end.  The endoscope provides high-quality images of your throat, esophagus, stomach, rectum, and colon.

One exception to using an endoscope for endoscopy is when doctors need to view the small intestine.  Due to its size and position in the digestive tract, doctors use a wireless capsule camera. It’s essentially a camera inside a pill capsule that patients swallow.  As it moves along the digestive tract, it takes pictures which are recorded using a device worn around the patient’s waist. During the journey, the capsule can transmit as many as 50,000 to 60,000 images of the digestive tract.

To read more about all of our endoscopic procedures, visit our Advanced Endoscopy information page.


Considered the gold standard of colorectal cancer detection, colonoscopies allow us to take a detailed look at your rectum and entire large intestine (colon). Because all colorectal cancer begins as precancerous polyps, removing these polyps during a colonoscopy can completely prevent this deadly disease.

By age 45, everyone should have a screening colonoscopy.

Learn more about how a colonoscopy can save your life.

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