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Colonoscopy refers to the passing of a flexible plastic tube through the anus into the colon (large bowel) and through to the lower part of the small bowel. This enables the doctor to diagnose cancers, polyps, colitis and diverticular disease. During the test, you will be lying on your left side. A specialist anaesthetist will administer short-acting sedative drugs by vein and then the examination will begin. Colonoscopy usually takes 15 to 20 minutes and most people have little memory of it. During the test you may feel some discomfort as the bowel is inflated with air; this is mostly removed at the end.
The Bowel Preparation
In preparation for a colonoscopy you will be required to follow the instruction for bowel preparation by either taking colocap capsules, colonlytely solution or Picolax solution. The purspose of the bowel preparation is to throughly clean the bowel so that there is minimal food residue to obstruct the view during your colonoscopy.
After the test you will be sleepy for at least one hour. Once you awaken you will be given some light refreshment. If you feel well you will be able to go home within one to two hours. You must be escorted. The sedative drugs impair judgement, so you must not drive a car until the next day; the entire day must be taken off work. The hospital anaesthetic departments policy states you must be escorted home (you cannot travel unaccompanied in a taxi), and you must have someone stay with you overnight.
There are potential hazards to this procedure including the potential for death. The overall risk is very small. It includes such things as vomiting, pain and perforation (bursting) of the colon. Perforation occurs very rarely (about 1 in 1000) cases. If it occurs you may require surgery within 24-48 hours and would likely recover in hospital over 7-10 days. If at any time you have any questions regarding the colonoscopy, please ask. We shall answer as completely as possible. Please inform us if you have any pain, fever or vomiting in the 24 to 48 hours following colonoscopy.