A colonoscopy is a procedure to look at the inside of the large bowel (colon) using a flexible telescope.
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a test regularly carried out in our Nuffield Health hospitals that allows our consultant to look at the inner lining of your large intestine, (rectum and colon). We use a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope to look at the colon. A colonoscopy helps identify conditions such as ulcers, colon polyps, tumours and inflamed areas of inflammation.
Are there any alternatives to a colonoscopy?
Other options include a barium enema (an x-ray test of the large bowel) or a CT colography (a special scan of the large bowel).
What does the procedure involve?
- If appropriate, the endoscopist may offer you a sedative or painkiller
- A colonoscopy usually takes between half an hour and three-quarters of an hour
- The procedure involves placing a flexible telescope into the back passage and blowing some air into the large bowel to get a clear view
- The endoscopist will be able to look for problems such as inflammation or polyps
- They will be able to perform biopsies and take photographs to help make the diagnosis.
What complications can happen?
- Allergic reaction
- Breathing difficulties or heart irregularities
- Making a hole in the colon
- Incomplete procedure.
How soon will I recover?
- If you were given a sedative, you will normally recover in about two hours
- You may feel a bit bloated for a few hours but this will pass
- A member of the team will tell you what was found during the colonoscopy and will discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need
- You should be able to go back to work the day after the colonoscopy.
A colonoscopy is usually a safe and effective way of finding out if you have a problem with your large bowel.
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