Endoscopy, particularly gastroscopy and colonoscopy, involves the
inspection of the stomach and bowel using fibreoptic or television
microchip instruments, particularly for the detection and prevention
WHAT IS A GASTROSCOPY?
Gastroscopy is the passage of a small flexible, lighted fibrescope
through the mouth into the stomach which allows your Doctor
to visually examine the lining of the oesophagus (gullet),
stomach and duodenum (small bowel).
WHAT IS A COLONOSCOPY?
Colonoscopy is a procedure which allows your Doctor to visually
inspect the inside of the bowel by the insertion of a fibreoptic
or video flexible telescope through the back passage, this
painless operation allows sampling of the lining (biopsy)
or removal of small tumours or polyps. It has the advantages
over the alternate method of examination, barium enema, by
allowing these operative procedures and providing greater
detail and accuracy.
About the procedure
Although colonoscopy requires drinking a quantity of flushing fluid
the preceding evening, the procedure itself is not uncomfortable.
Performed under sedation, the whole examination requires attendance
at our centre of about 3 hours.
Things to know before the procedure
- Please read ALL information carefully and as soon as possible.
- Follow the bowel preparation regime given to you.
- Arrange for a responsible friend or relative to collect you.
You should have someone available to stay with you for a minimum
of 6 hours, preferably overnight. For your safety, you will NOT
be permitted to leave the centre unescorted, in a taxi without
an escort, or driving a car. Cancellation of your procedure will
take place if these arrangements are not made. You can expect
to be at the centre for two to three hours.
- It is advisable to wear loose comfortable clothing and flat
shoes. For your comfort, please bring a dressing gown and slippers.
- Minors (anyone under the age of 18 years) must be accompanied
by a parent or guardian
- Please complete the admission form, listing all medications
carefully, and bring it with you on the day of your colonoscopy.
Details of Health Insurance and excess, Medicare card, Veterans
Affairs card or pension cards are also required.
- Facility fee and extra charges are payable on the day of examination
- Please do not bring valuables which could be mislaid.
- A medical certificate will be issued if required.
- Please read preparation instructions carefully, and use the
checkboxes as a guide.
- Ladies, no make-up, nail polish or jewellery please.
Prior to ANY anaesthetic or sedation, it is desirable that
you are as healthy as possible. This is why we advise you to take
all medications as normal prior to your appointment, ESPECIALLY
if you have high blood pressure, heart problems, epilepsy, asthma,
or any other medical condition. There are some exceptions to this
rule. Please read the following notes carefully.
- Iron tablets should be ceased 5 days prior to your colonoscopy.
- Aspirin-like drugs (anti-inflammatory) for arthritis
should be ceased five days prior to the procedure.
- Blood thinning tablets (anti-coagulants) may need to
be ceased as directed, particularly if polypectomy is to be performed.
- Diabetic medications (insulin or oral tablets) generally
should be withheld on the morning of the procedure, following
discussion with your Doctor. Please bring any diabetic medications
to the centre. If possible, a morning blood glucose reading is
advisable to be performed before attending the centre.
- Contraceptive pill to be taken as normal, but extra precautions
should be taken for the rest of the cycle following the procedure.
How are you prepared?
To enable a thorough and safe examination, the colon will need
to be completely cleansed at home by the use of laxatives and the
drinking of a quantity of lemon tasting solution, which passes right
through without upsetting your body.
Admission procedures will confirm details of your past medical
history and nursing staff and endoscopists will ensure that you
adequately understand the procedure and instructions.
The anaesthetist will examine you and reassure you that with the
use of drugs for sedation, you will find the colonoscopy comfortable
and you may have no recollection of it later.
Please advise nursing staff of any allergies. Female patients,
any possibility of pregnancy should be revealed.
It will not be possible to discuss the removal of your polyps with
you at the time of examination as you will be sedated. Therefore,
if you agree to having any polyps found during the procedure removed,
please sign the consent form. If you have any queries or reservations
about this, please inform your Doctor.
What do we do?
After the anaesthetist gives sedation, the colonoscope is inserted
through the rectum, the large intestine and often into the small
bowel (ileum). As cancer of the large bowel arises from pre-existing
polyps (benign wart like growths) it is advisable that if any polyps
are found they should be painlessly removed at the time of the examination
Safety and Risks
For inspection of the bowel alone, complications of colonoscopy
are uncommon. Most surveys report complications in less than 1 in
Complications which can occur include:
- intolerance of the bowel preparation solution
- reaction to sedatives used
- perforation and major bleeding are extremely rare, but if they
occur, may require open surgery
Polypectomy: When polyp removal is carried out there is
a slightly higher risk of perforation or bleeding from the site
of polyp removal.
Sedation Complication: These are uncommon and avoided by
administering monitoring oxygen during the procedure. If you wish
to have full details of rare complications you should indicate to
your Doctor before the procedure that you wish for all possible
complications to be fully discussed.
On returning to our recovery lounge, you, should be alert within
a few minutes. You may experience some windy pains and flatulence
briefly, but you should be comfortable to leave the hospital escorted
within one and a half hours after the procedure. written report
will be provided on discharge, a copy of which is forward to your
referring doctor. Explanation of the procedure will also be given,
but due to the effects of the sedatives, you may not be able to
recall details of the discussion with the Doctor. For this reason
a relative or friend should escort you home and remain with you
for at least 6 hours and preferably overnight. Normal work and activity
can usually be recommended the following day. Contact your Doctor
immediately should any of the following arise:
- Persistent or increasing pain or abdominal distension.
- Persistent or increasing bleeding from the back passage.
- Any other symptoms of concern.
On arrival home please rest for the remainder of the day. As you
have had medications, do not drive a motor vehicle, operate any
form of machinery or make any important decisions. Whilst normal
diet and fluids can be recommenced and normal medications continued,
no alcohol should be taken for at least 12 hours. If you have any
questions please see your local Doctor.