What is cecal intubation?

Sometimes on a colonoscopy report, you may see a line that goes something like, “The colonoscope was introduced through the rectum and advanced under direct visualization until the cecum was reached.” This means that cecal intubation was done.

Cecal intubation is defined as passage of the colonoscope tip to a point proximal to the ileocecal valve, so that the entire cecal caput, including the medial wall of the cecum between the ileocecal valve and appendiceal orifice, is visible. It is a quality metric for colonoscopy because otherwise you may miss a substantial number of proximal polyps. Low cecal intubation rates have been associated with higher rates of interval proximal colon cancer.

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