WHAT IS A COLONOSCOPY?
Colonoscopy is a procedure, which enables the doctor to see inside your large bowel. Unlike a barium enema which takes x-ray photographs, a colonoscopy lets the doctor see the surface inside the bowel with a video camera and can provide far more detail and accuracy than x-rays. The procedure is performed following extensive preparation of your bowel. The instrument uses a thin flexible tube containing a video camera. If necessary, small tissue samples (biopsies) can be taken during the examination (painlessly) for laboratory analysis. Polyps (wart like growths) can also be removed using a snare wire. A simple blue food dye can be sprayed on the bowel to detect early polyps. This procedure can be performed under sedation, or without if you would prefer.
HOW AM I PREPARED?
Prior to your Colonoscopy appointment you will be assessed by one of our Registered Nurses, at which time a tailored preparation regime will be developed and provided to you. Generally you will need to start a liquid diet 1-2 days prior to your procedure whilst following your provided instructions on when and how to take your preparation medication.
WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS?
Virtual Colonoscopy and Faecal Occult Blood Testing (FOBT).
HOW ACCURATE IS A COLONOSCOPY?
A recent survey has found that the risks of bowel cancer developing within 5 years of a colonoscopy would be approximately 0.2% (post colonoscopy colon cancer). With a complete Colonoscopy, up to 3% of bowel cancers can be missed. This risk appears to be smaller for highly trained Colonoscopists. Small benign polyps can be missed in up to 6% of cases.
The following will ensure the risk is minimised.
1. Your bowel is very well cleaned. It is important you take the bowel preparation correctly.
2. A full colonoscopy to the caecum or terminal ileum is performed.
3. Indigo Carmine. Some patients will benefit with the spraying of Indigo Carmine (food dye) onto the bowel lining which harmlessly detects early flat polyps.
4. Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to detect small subtle polyps.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
• Intolerance to colonic preparation
• Reaction to anaesthetic
• Perforation (hole in the bowel)
• Acute diverticulitis can be exacerbated
• Damage to other organs
Prior to your Colonoscopy procedure you will be asked to provide us with a full medical history. It is particularly important that you advise us if you are;
Allergic or sensitive to any drug or other substance
Taking iron tablets or medications containing iron
Taking a blood thinning medication
WHAT HAPPENS ON THE DAY OF MY PROCEDURE?
You will be at the facility for approximately 2 hours, but should keep the entire day free to recover at home.
We ask you to wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes and bring something warm if you feel the cold. No jeans please.
You will be required to lie on your left side with knees bent up towards your tummy, and will be covered with a sheet for comfort and privacy.
If you have chosen to have your procedure under sedation, you will be given medication by injection through a vein to make you sleepy and relaxed. You will probably have little memory of the procedure.
Following your procedure you will be transferred to recovery to be monitored for at least 30 minutes, before being escorted to our seated recovery for refreshments prior to discharge home.
WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER MY PROCEDURE?
For the next 12 hours, you should:
Not drive a motor vehicle
Have a responsible adult to stay with you due to effects of anaesthetic used
Avoid consumption of alcohol & the signing of any legal documents
You should not plan air travel post procedure for 48 hours on domestic flights, and 14 days for international flights. *This also includes cruises, travel to remote areas and any travel outside of Australia*