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Remember Katie Couric’s infamous colonoscopy on the “Today” show? In 2016, colonoscopies happen on Periscope.

The Mayo Clinic on Tuesday broadcast a live procedure on the mobile app for the first time, allowing users to watch from start to finish and, at times, up close.


The patient undergoing the colonoscopy, Lee Aase, Mayo’s social media director, said the clinic performs scores of colonoscopies each day, and when the idea came up to broadcast a procedure live, he suggested finding a patient who would be willing to participate. Then, he reconsidered.

“If I wasn’t willing to do it myself on Periscope, I didn’t have any business asking someone else,” he told STAT.

The broadcast was part of the Mayo Clinic’s partnership with an advocacy group called Fight Colorectal Cancer to raise awareness about the need for colorectal screenings. The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women over age 50 who are at average risk of developing colorectal cancer get the procedure done every 10 years.


Aase had the colonoscopy done at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn., where two doctors were on hand: one to perform the procedure and one to explain the process to viewers.

“There are some twists and turns in the colon, and navigating those twists and turns is the initial part of the exam,” gastroenterologist Dr. Paul Limburg explained.

The procedure took about a half an hour, and Aase will be monitored for an hour afterward before heading home. He might turn back to tweeting later today, but chances are, he probably won’t be doing so from the office.

“Generally, patients take a day off work,” Limburg said.

You can watch the broadcast here.