Colonoscopy allows the gastroenterologist to examine the entire large intestine (colon) of a patient. A colonoscope, which is a long flexible tube equipped with a miniature video camera at its tip, is inserted through the anus. This allows the gastroenterologist to see inside the intestine, take tissue samples (biopsies), and if necessary remove polyps.
- This procedure is performed to investigate conditions such as:
- Rectal bleeding
- Colonic polyps
- Diverticulosis and diverticulitis
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Other types of colitis
- Colon cancer
This procedure requires intravenous sedation via a small needle to a vein at the back of the hand or in the arm. In some patients the injection may cause a local reaction and sometimes bruising under the skin may occur. But these are usually reversible local reactions and will resolve in a few days.
In some patients, temporary discomfort or pain may occur due to the introduction of air into the stomach or bowel. In rare instances major complications like perforation (puncture) of the oesophagus, stomach, small bowel or colon can occur. Haemorrhage (bleeding) following removal of polyps, infection, cardiac or respiratory arrest related to sedation/anaesthesia may also occur.
If you wish to discuss the potential risks or any issues regarding your procedure(s) in more detail, please speak with the gastroenterologist.