What is Colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy is a procedure that enables the specialist to examine the lining of the colon (large bowel) for abnormalities using a thin flexible tube, which contains a video camera and a light source.
Why is Colonoscopy performed?
Colonoscopies are used as a screening test for bowel cancers, for people experiencing rectal bleeding, changed bowel habits and abdominal pain.
What preparation is required for this test?
A diet information sheet will be issued. Please read carefully and check with the receptionist if you have any questions about it.
What happens during the procedure?
In the procedure room patients are requested to remove their lower items of clothing, and are then given a sedative anaesthetic by the anaesthetist. The colonoscope is then passed into the anus, through the rectum and into the colon. The specialist may take tissue samples (biopsies) to send to pathology. If polyps (abnormal growths) are found these are usually removed during the procedure and sent to pathology for analysis.
What are the possible complications of colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy is generally safe, particularly when performed by experienced specialists. Perforations can occur, predominantly following the removal of polyps. Bleeding due to biopsies or polyp removal can also occur. Other associated risks include reaction to the drugs used and irritation of the vein from the intravenous injection.
What happens following the colonoscopy procedure?
After the procedure, patients are cared for in the recovery room until the effects of the sedation have worn off. You may experience cramping, bloating and abdominal pain due to the introduction of air into the colon during the examination. This disappears rapidly with the passing of wind (flatus). Patients are given water to re-hydrate them as soon as the procedure is complete. Upon arrival at home, patients are advised to resume their normal diet. Due to the sedation, patients are not allowed to drive or operate machinery until the following day. If a medical certificate is required you should request this from the receptionist.