What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a minimally-invasive procedure that uses an instrument called a colonoscope to look inside your large intestine (or colon) and your rectum. Colonoscopy is a vital part of screening for colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and other bowel-related conditions.The colonoscope is long and flexible and features a light and a tiny camera on one end. It is the width of your index finger. As it moves through your colon and rectum, it takes pictures and videos that are sent back to a viewing monitor.

What preparation is required before a colonoscopy?

To ensure a successful colonoscopy it is very important that your bowel (colon) is adequately prepared prior to the procedure.

Certain medications must be ceased prior to undergoing colonoscopy. It is imperative that you discuss all your medications with A/Prof Debinski.

We will give you specific dietary and preparation instructions for your test. It’s important to make sure your bowels can be easily viewed during the procedure, so be sure to follow the instructions closely. The day prior to your colonoscopy, you will modify your diet and drink a special liquid laxative to clear your bowel contents. 

What is involved in a colonoscopy?

When you arrive at the Day Procedure Centre you will be registered and interviewed by our staff. The anaesthetist will provide intravenous access and administer gentle sedation. You will sleep the entire time and have no discomfort. Most colonoscopies take 20 to 30 minutes to complete.

If a polyp or abnormal area is found, special instruments within the scope can be used to remove the polyp or sample any abnormal tissue. The polyps and tissue samples are then sent to a laboratory to be evaluated to determine if cancer or another disease may be present. Can I go home after my endoscopy or colonoscopy?

Yes, colonoscopy is performed as a day procedure  and you can go home shortly afterward. 

Immediately after your procedure, you’ll spend some time in a recovery area while the sedation wears off and you can eat immediately. A Prof Debinski will speak with you before you go home and go over the results. If any biopsies were taken, those will come back within 1 week. 

You’ll need to have someone escort you home, and you should plan to take it easy the rest of the day. You cannot drive a car on the day of the examination.

Where are these procedures performed?

A Prof Debinski performs all procedures at Cabrini Hospital in the Day Procedure Unit.

Special case - polyps

Colon polyps are growths that are the result of an abnormal cluster of cells. They are usually small, rarely a cause for concern, and take one of two forms.

Non-neoplastic polyps are sometimes referred to as inflammatory polyps and are present in bowels in the setting of inflammatory bowel disease. 

Neoplastic polyps are more likely to produce cancer cells. The two types of neoplastic polyps are serrated and adenomas. Serrated types are more prone to becoming cancerous than other types and require careful monitoring. A polypectomy is performed to remove polyps and reduce long term cancer risk.

What are the risks of a colonoscopy ?

Colonoscopy is generally a safe procedure. Complications are rare. These include intolerance to the bowel preparation or reaction to the sedatives. Serious complications occur in approximately 1 in 1000 examinations. Perforation (making a hole in the bowel) is extremely rare, but if it occurs surgery may be required. Rarely, major bleeding may require a blood transfusion. The sedative you are given for the procedure may affect your memory of the procedure and the events of the next hour or so. Because the sedative may interfere with your judgement or ability to concentrate, you should not drive a motor car, ride a bicycle or travel unaccompanied, use dangerous machinery or sign important documents for the remainder of the day. 

Patient Information

Handy resources to make your preparation and admission as easy as possible.