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Common Questions

Third Eye colonoscopy is an advanced procedure that allows your doctor to easily see behind the folds of the colon. Used along with a standard colonoscope, the Third Eye Retroscope® device has a miniature video camera that provides a second, retrograde (backward) view of the colon. This extra view allows your doctor to more easily detect precancerous polyps hidden behind folds and turns in the colon wall. In fact, a recent, large multi-center study has shown that the Third Eye device increases the detection of precancerous polyps by 23% over standard colonoscopy. In patients with a greater risk of colorectal cancer – those with a history of lesions in the colon and those who had signs or symptoms such as blood in the stool – the study showed Third Eye colonoscopy increased detection of precancerous polyps by over 40%. (10) By providing an additional camera during your procedure, the advanced Third Eye Retroscope helps to minimize your risk of colorectal cancer.

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Patients do not experience any additional pain or discomfort during a Third Eye colonoscopy. Studies have shown that a Third Eye colonoscopy takes about the same amount of time as a traditional colonoscopy.

There is no additional preparation required for a Third Eye colonoscopy. Your doctor will give a complete list of preparation instructions before the procedure.

There is no difference in recovery from a Third Eye colonoscopy and a traditional colonoscopy except that you and your doctor will have the confidence of having just completed the most complete colonoscopy available.

Depending on your insurance, a Third Eye colonoscopy may be available at no or little additional cost. Contact the facility where you are planning to have your colonoscopy to confirm the insurance plans they accept and any costs that you may be responsible for.

For more information, visit the

American Cancer Society website »

Screening is recommended in men and women beginning at age 50 if they have average risk or earlier if they develop symptoms of the disease or if their family has a history of colorectal cancer. The American Cancer Society suggests screening guidelines for those with increased or high risk of colorectal cancer based on specific risk factors. Some people may have more than one risk factor. Based on your situation, your doctor can suggest the best screening option for you, as well as any changes in the schedule based on your individual risk.

American Cancer Society Recommendations for Colorectal Cancer Early Detection »

Colonoscopy procedures are typically performed by specially-trained doctors, including gastroenterologists (GIs), colorectal surgeons, general surgeons, and primary care physicians. These physicians are often referred to as endoscopists or colonoscopists.

Find a doctor who performs Third Eye colonoscopies in your area »

In the early stages of colon cancer, usually there are no symptoms. Most colorectal cancers begin as a precancerous adenoma. This is why colonoscopy screening is so important because removing adenomas prevents cancer from developing. Symptoms of colorectal cancer may include:

  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Dark, black or bloody stools or bowel movement
  • Change in the shape of the stool
  • Painful cramping in the lower abdomen
  • Constant urge to have a bowel movement
  • Onset of diarrhea or constipation that lasts more than a few days
  • Unexplained weight loss

Read more about symptoms on our blog »

Immediately after the exam, you will need to recover from the sedative, which can take about one to two hours. However, even though you may feel alert after that, you should not drive until the following morning. Most people can go back to their normal daily activities the next day. Recovery from Third Eye colonoscopy is no different from traditional colonoscopy.

The colon is not a straight tube – it has many folds on its inner surface. Also, to squeeze 6 feet of colon into your abdomen, it has to make a number of sharp turns or “flexures.” These folds and turns create “blind spots” that are difficult to view during standard colonoscopy.

Read more about colon anatomy on our blog »

First doctors can see more of the wall of the colon and that allows them to identify polyps and pre-cancerous adenomas. There are many other abnormalities such as inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), diverticulosis and hemorrhoids that can be identified during colonoscopy.

Read more about polyps on our blog »

The Third Eye Retroscope device was cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2007. Several clinical studies were then conducted and published, and commercialization began in 2011.

Additional clinical information can be found here »

In 2005 Dr. David Watts, a gastroenterologist at the University of California, San Francisco, first conceived of a catheter-based device that could see behind folds in the colon and suggested the name “Third Eye.” A team of engineers and physicians at Avantis Medical then developed the device, and has continued to improve the technology since then. Meanwhile, physician investigators independent of the company have conducted clinical studies that have consistently demonstrated its safety and effectiveness.

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