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 Published: 24/11/2011

Colonoscopy

  
Auckland City Hospital Colonoscopy Information
 
What is Colonoscopy?  
 
Colonoscopy is an examination of the large bowel (colon) which a specialist doctor performs using a narrow flexible tube called a colonoscope. 

The colonoscope has a wide angled camera in the tip and when this is passed into your bowel an image of the inner lining is captured. This image is transmitted to a television screen, which the doctor views. 

By advancing the endoscope along the length of the bowel, the whole bowel can be viewed. Colonoscopy takes 20-30 minutes. During the examination tiny samples of tissue called biopsies may be taken for analysis under the microscope. Small wart-like lumps called polyps are sometimes seen and can be removed.

  
Will I be asleep?
  
You will be given a pain relieving medication to keep you comfortable. You may also be given a sedating medication to relax you. These medications will make you feel relaxed and may cause you to forget what has happened. However, you will not be asleep and you will be aware of what is happening to you. 

After the procedure you will need to rest for 30-60 minutes, depending on how long it takes you to return to normal.

 
Going home after sedation
 
A driver must collect you afterwards After you have received these medications you must not drive, operate machinery, take public transport unaccompanied, drink alcohol or return to work until the following day. If you do not have transport arranged you will be able to have the procedure without sedation. Alternatively, another appointment will be made for you which may be several weeks later. 

If your transport arrangements are not as expected after you have received sedation, you will be sent home through a "Dial a Driver" service at your own cost. Dial a Driver may suit those who wish to drive their car to the appointment, and be driven home in it. A Dial a Driver service familiar with this department's processes can be booked on 0800 422 234. Booking a least one-day ahead is advantageous.

After colonoscopy you can arrange to be collected from the department approximately two hours after your appointment time, asking your driver to be flexible in case of delays. Alternatively, the nurse can phone your driver when you are ready. Another useful strategy is to ask your driver to phone the nurse to check if you are ready, before leaving to collect you. The contact phone number for such enquiries is (09) 630 9943 xtn 26114.

  
What are the risks?
 
Complications of colonoscopy are uncommon. Most surveys report complications in 1 in 1000 examinations or less. Perforation (making a hole in the bowel) or major bleeding from the bowel is extremely rare but if it occurs, may require an operation. 

When polyps are removed during the examination there is a slightly higher risk of perforation or bleeding. In the unlikely event of haemorrhage occurring, a blood transfusion may be necessary. 
If you wish to have full details of rare complications, you should indicate to your nurse before the procedure that you wish for all possible complications to be fully discussed with the doctor.

 
How do I prepare?
Click here for Preparation instructions. Morning / Afternoon
When will I know the results?
  
A report detailing your results will be given to you before you leave and a copy will be sent to your Hospital Specialist and GP. The doctor will discuss any serious findings with you before you leave the department. 
 

Colonoscopy

 

Colonoscopy Diagramme

 
Prior to your procedure nurse would like to have a short phone conversation with you to assess your health / special needs. This is a good opportunity to discuss any concerns. Telephone (09) 630 9943 and enter 26114 # when you are asked to key in the extension number. Nurses are available Mon-Fri 0800 - 1600. 

Diabetics, or people using blood-thinning medication (warfarin, aspirin) should phone six days before their procedure for instructions about taking medication.