Colonoscopy is a procedure that involves passing a flexible tube through the back passage to examine the large intestine. The tube is about the thickness of your little finger. The tube contains a fibre-optic light and a camera. The inside of the intestine can be viewed on a video screen. The procedure can be used to look for colon polyps, cancer of the colon and as a diagnostic tool for unexplained change of bowel habit, abdominal pain and bleeding from the bowel. Tissue samples (biopsies) of the colon can be taken during colonoscopy to aid in diagnosis. Colonoscopy with removal of polyps is the best way to prevent bowel cancer. Haemorrhoids can be treated with banding and/or injections at the conclusion of the procedure if appropriate.
There is some preparation required for a colonoscopy as the bowel needs be cleared to allow a full view of the intestinal wall. You will be given a bowel preparation kit and full instructions at the rooms prior to the procedure if having the procedure at Baringa Private Hospital or at the Pre Admission Clinic for Coffs Harbour Health Campus. If you have any problems or queries, please call our friendly staff.
A minimum of 8 hours fasting time is usually required prior to the procedure.
Colonoscopy is a relatively safe procedure, although complications rarely occur. These may include:
- Excessive bleeding from the bowel
- Internal abdominal bleeding
- Perforation or puncture of the colon wall
- Lung infection due to vomiting and aspiration during the procedure
- Other anaesthetic complications
Hospital admission and possibly surgery may be required to deal with a complication.
Coffs Harbour Health Campus
- You may be advised to come to the Pre Admission Clinic at least one week before your procedure, where you will be seen by an anaesthetist and nursing staff. More details will be taken and you will be examined thoroughly. This is to check that you are fit and well enough to go ahead with the colonoscopy, which requires an intravenous sedation.
- You will be provided with a bowel preparation kit and instructions. If you have any queries about this, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Baringa Private Hospital
- You will be provided with a bowel preparation kit and instructions when your admission is organised in our rooms.
- The anaesthetist and nursing staff will see you on the day of your procedure at the hospital.
After the Colonoscopy
You will spend some time in the recovery ward after the procedure. You will recover quickly from the anaesthetic, but your memory may be affected and you may not recall what Dr Ramsay discusses with you after the procedure. For this reason an appointment may be made for you to attend the surgeon’s rooms so that the results of your colonoscopy and treatment recommendations can be fully discussed. Alternatively the results will be communicated to you by letter and/or telephone. A detailed report is always sent to your local doctor.
After the procedure, It is possible that you may have:
- mild cramping.
These usually settle within a few hours of the procedure.
You will be offered a drink and something light to eat about one hour after you are fully awake. Usually you can go home after about two hours.
YOU WILL NOT BE FIT TO DRIVE A CAR OR OTHER VEHICLE UNTIL THE FOLLOWING DAY.
YOU WILL NEED TO ARRANGE A RESPONSIBLE ADULT TO DRIVE YOU HOME AFTER THE PROCEDURE.