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Endoscopy Auckland

Private Service, Gastroenterology & Hepatology (Liver), General Surgery


Colonoscopy is the examination of your colon (large bowel) using a colonoscope (long, flexible tube with a camera on the end). The colonoscope is passed into your rectum (bottom) and then moved slowly along the entire colon, while images from the camera are displayed on a television monitor. The procedure takes from 10 minutes to an hour. Sometimes a small tissue sample (biopsy) will need to be taken during the procedure for later examination at a laboratory.
A colonoscopy may help diagnose conditions such as polyps (small growths of tissue projecting into the bowel), tumours, ulcerative colitis (inflammation of the colon) and diverticulitis (inflammation of sacs that form on the walls of the colon).
Colonoscopy may also be used to remove polyps in the colon.

Risks of a colonoscopy are rare but include: intolerance of the preparation; false negative; bleeding if a biopsy is performed or polyp removed; allergic reaction to the sedative; and perforation (tearing of the bowel wall).

What to expect
It is important that the bowel is completely empty before the procedure takes place. This means that you may require a low fibre diet on the day before, and will have to take some oral laxative medication (to clear the bowel - this will give you diarrhoea). Administration staff will advise you of specific preparation prior to your appointment.

When you are ready for the procedure, you will be given medication (a sedative) to make you relaxed and sleepy. This will be given by via a leur in your arm or hand.

The colonoscopy takes between 15 – 30 minutes. After this you will be monitored in the recovery area while you sleep off the effects of the sedative. Because you have been sedated (given medication to make you sleep) it is important that you arrange for someone else to drive you home and stay with you the night of the procedure. 

Some patients may experience discomfort after the procedure, due to air remaining in the colon. It is important that you pass the air to minimise the discomfort.

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This page was last updated at 11:56AM on October 4, 2021.