What is it?
Colonoscopy is a test where a colonoscope (a long flexible tube with a camera on the end) is used to examine the large bowel (colon and rectum).
If required, polyps, biopsies or abnormal tissue can be removed through the colonoscope during the test.
Why do I need this test?
Colonoscopy is used for:
- A screening test - Picking up problems in patients with no symptoms, such as polyps.
- To investigate bowel problems including bleeding, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and constipation.
- To follow-up previous polyps or bowel disease.
What can I expect?
The procedure is a day case and requires bowel preparation beforehand.
It is preformed under light sedation given by an anaesthetist, most people don't remember the test.
The colonoscopy examination usually takes between 30-40 minutes.
You will usually be in the Day Procedure Centre for 2 ½ - 4 hours.
What happens after the procedure?
You will fully recover from the light sedation approximately one to two hours after the procedure. A nurse will monitor you throughout your recovery.
Your doctor will inform you of anything that was found during the test and discuss any treatment or follow-up if required.
Your nurse will give you instructions to take home and let you know what to do if you experience any problems after the procedure.
A friend or family member will need to accompany you home to ensure your safety.
Don't drive, make important decisions or go back to work for the rest of the day.
You will be able to conduct normal daily activities the following day.
What are the risks?
Colonoscopy is a very safe and low risk procedure. Rare complications from colonoscopy can include:
- Reactions to anesthetic used for the test.
- Bleeding if biopsy are taken or polyps removed.
- A hole to the bowel (perforation).