What is Colonoscopy?

A Colonoscopy is a visual examination of the whole of the large intestine (colon).  The colonoscope is a long, flexible tube about the thickness of your index finger, which is passed through the anus into the large intestine.  The endoscopist gets a clear view of the lining of the bowel and can check whether or not any disease is present.

Colonoscopy is used to look for the causes of symptoms such as rectal bleeding, sustained constipation, chronic diahorea and severe stomach pains.

Sometimes the endoscopist takes a biopsy – a sample of the lining for examination in the laboratory. A small piece of tissue is removed painlessly through the colonoscope using tiny forceps.  It is also possible to remove polyps during the colonoscopy.  Polyps are small lumps on the bowel wall, which the doctor will want examined by the laboratory.

The procedure itself takes approximately 30 minutes, however you should expect to be at the clinic for 2-3 hours.  This does vary from clinic to clinic and is dependent on whether you have sedation.  The admitting nurse will be able to give you an estimated time on the day.

Please read the patient information leaflet "Colonoscopy Instruction Notes" for more detail about how to prepare for a Colonoscopy contained in the Patient Information Page of the website.

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