First your doctor will ask about your medical history and perform a physical evaluation. There is no single test that can provide a diagnosis of Crohn's disease, but rather a series of X-rays, laboratory tests, endoscopy and pathology tests that are used. These may include the following:
The procedure is performed using a colonscope. This device is a long, flexible tube that is about as thick as your index finger and has a small video camera and light on the end. By adjusting the various controls on the colonscope, the gastroenterologist can carefully examine the inside lining of the colon from the anus to the cecum and can enter the end of your small bowel, or terminal ileum, as well. The colonoscope contains a channel that allows instruments to be passed in order to take tissue or stool samples, remove polyps and provide other therapy.
The high quality picture from the colonoscope is shown on a television monitor. Colonoscopy provides the best imaging of the colon at present. It is a more precise examination than X-ray studies. This procedure also allows other instruments to be passed through the colonoscope. These may be used, for example, to painlessly remove a suspicious-looking growth or to take a biopsy, where a small piece of tissue is obtained, for further analysis. In this way, colonoscopy help doctors assess whether surgery is necessary as well as what type of surgery may be needed.
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.