Colonoscopy

What is a colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is an endoscopic procedure used to inspect and examine the lining of the large bowel (colon). It is performed through the use of a long flexible tube with a light and camera at the end (endoscope).

Why do a colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is used to either investigate or treat certain conditions, these conditions include:

  • Bowel cancer screening

  • Abdominal pain

  • Diarrhoea

  • Constipation

  • Bleeding from the bowel

  • Diverticular disease

  • Loss of weight

  • Colon polyps

  • Inflammation (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis)

  • Hemorrhoids

How is a colonoscopy performed?

A colonoscopy is performed by a specialist to investigate one of the above conditions. The procedure is performed typically under sedation/anaesthetic. The procedure takes 20-30 minutes during which time the specialist will carefully examine the lining of the bowel.

 

Tissue samples (biopsies) may be taken depending on the reason for the procedure. Precancerous lesions (polyps) may also be removed during the procedure. Following the colonoscopy, you may feel bloated due to use of air to inflate the bowel during the procedure.

What preparation is needed for a colonoscopy?

Bowel preparation is needed before the procedure to allow the bowel to be cleaned so that the lining can be carefully examined. This preparation will be detailed in written instructions at the time of the booking. It will require a combination of dietary changes as well as laxative medications.

As the procedure is typically under sedation/anaesthesia, you will require a responsible adult to accompany you home following the procedure and refrain from driving for the remainder of the day.

What are the risks of a colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is a well-tolerated procedure. In the majority of patients there are no side effects or complications from the procedure. The most common side effect is bloating/fullness after the colonoscopy as a result of air used during the procedure.

Other complications include:

  • Perforation

  • Bleeding

  • Aspiration/anaesthetic complications

  • Failure to complete

  • Missed lesions

How Can We Help?

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