Live! on Your Phone: One Man's Colonoscopy

Back when the iPhone first became a gleam in Steve Jobs' eye, it's possible, but not probable, the ability to provide thousands of people with visual access to the inside of someone's colon was high on his functionality wish list.

Nevertheless, today the Mayo Clinic fulfilled yet another promise of the smartphone revolution, by live-streaming one man's colonoscopy on the mobile app Periscope. The patient was Lee Aase, director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. The project was part of the Mayo Clinic's collaboration with the advocacy organization Fight Colorectal Cancer.

"Our previous promotions included live patient events, a music video and a social media campaign," Aase wrote before the procedure. "As we discussed plans for our 2016 promotion, I received a reminder for my colonoscopy, so we decided to take this opportunity to demystify the process by live-streaming the procedure on Periscope." (The live colonoscopy, by the way, has already made inroads on national TV.)

And live-stream they did. While the colonoscopy was being performed by one doctor, another answered questions from Periscope viewers, who numbered over 3,000. Aase was awake and on sedatives the entire time. The procedure did not find anything of concern.

The video archive will be available until early Wednesday morning. Click here or on the photo below to watch. Anatomy fans -- not to mention the squeamish -- take note: You can see a scope's-eye view of the proceedings starting around 18 minutes in.

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It should be noted that a 2013 New York Times investigation found colonoscopies were overprescribed and overpriced. KQED State of Health's PriceCheck last year found a wide variation in the cost of the procedure. The American Cancer Society recommends colorectal cancer screening for men and women at average risk, and there are multiple screening methods.

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