A/Prof David van der Poorten
Dr Roslyn Vongsuvanh
  Prof Golo Ahlenstiel
Dr Way Siow

Appointments & Enquiries:  (02) 8711 0160

Colonoscopy

Normal Colon
Parts of the Normal Colon

colonoscope2

 

 

 

COLONOSCOPY INFORMATION

Colonoscopy is a procedure used to inspect the large bowel (colon). We perform colonoscopy procedures multiple times per week both in the public and private system. All private procedures are billed No-Gap to your health fund and usually can be arranged within 1-3 weeks. Waiting time in the public system through Westmead or Auburn hospitals is based on clinical priority and is between 1-5 months.

 

How is the bowel prepared?

In order for us to get the best possible view and make the colonoscopy easier, your large bowel needs to be cleaned out of all waste material. You will be given a preparation kit which contains full instructions. Usually this involves a special diet for a day or two, consisting of no solid food, lots of clear fluids and laxatives the day before and day of the procedure. You need to have nothing to eat or drink for three to four hours before the procedure is done. However, you may have a sip of water with your regular medications. Take your regular medications on the day of the test.

 

Special considerations

Iron tablets should be stopped a week before the test. Aspirin can be continued. If you have diabetes or have heart valve disease or have a pacemaker implanted or are taking blood thinning tablets such as Warfarin or Clopidogrel it is important to discuss this with me before the colonoscopy is organized, as special arrangements may be necessary.

 

How is colonoscopy done?

Your colonoscopy will be done under deep sedation with an anaesthetist. The test is performed while you lie on your left side, although occasionally it may be necessary for you to lie on your back during the procedure. The instrument is inserted through the back passage. Most colonoscopies take between 20 and 45 minutes.

 

What is a polyp?

A polyp is a small growth attached to the bowel wall which over time can occasionally become a cancer. If polyps are found they will almost always be able to be removed at the time of the examination. Most polyps can be burnt off by placing a wire snare around the base and applying an electric current. If you have any questions please ask me before the colonoscopy. If necessary, small samples or biopsies of the bowel can be taken for analysis.

 

What happens after colonoscopy?

Following the procedure you will remain in the hospital recovery area for approximately two hours until the effect of the medication wears off. When you wake up you may feel a little bloated. This is due to the air that was inserted during the procedure. This will pass over the next hour or so. Very rarely, you may pass a small amount of blood. This is due to biopsies that have been taken and is of no concern. You may then go home. Because of the sedation given it is very important that you do not drive a car, travel on public transport alone, operate machinery, sign legal documents or drink alcohol on the same day.

 

Safety and risks

Serious complications of colonoscopy are rare, at less than one in a thousand examinations. However complications can occur and include the following: 1) Colonoscopy is considered to be the most accurate test of the colon. However, there is a risk that an abnormality may not be detected. 2) Intolerance of the bowel preparation: Some people develop dizziness, headaches or vomiting. 3) Reaction to the sedatives or anaesthetics. 4) Perforation (making a hole in the bowel). 5) Major bleeding from the bowel: This can occur as a result of polyps being removed. It is possible if these serious complications occur that you may require surgery or a blood transfusion. If you have any of the following symptoms in the hours or days after colonoscopy you should contact the hospital or my rooms immediately: severe abdominal pain, black tarry motions, persistent bleeding from the back passage, fever or other symptoms that cause you concern.

 

Adapted from GESA guidelines 2012.