What does the examination involve?

  • A small needle will be placed into a vein. The needle is then removed leaving a small plastic tube. A sedative and/or painkiller injected before the examination. This make you feel relaxed but rarely induces sleep. (This will be left lightly taped to your hand/arm until you are recovered from the procedure then removed after the procedure is completed).
  • A small device for recording pulse and breathing called a finger probe will be attached to your finger and you will be given oxygen using a tube up your nose.
  • A cuff will be placed on your arm to monitor your blood pressure (please inform the nurse if there is a reason why a certain arm cannot be used).
  • A rectal examination will be performed by the endoscopist before the procedure.
  • Then while you are lying comfortably on your left side the endoscopist will gently insert the colonoscope into your back passage and pass it around the large bowel.
  • Air will be passed into the bowel to expand it so the bowel lining can be seen more clearly. This may give you some discomfort, but it will not last long.
  • You may need to pass wind during your procedure. This is normal and the endoscopist is used to it. Please do not be embarrassed.
    A biopsy (a small sample of the lining of your bowel) may be taken during the examination to be sent to the laboratory for more tests. You cannot feel this. (A video recording and/or photographs may be taken for your records).
  • Similarly, any polyps may be removed during the examination, but you will not feel this either.
  • Polyps are small growths in the lining of the bowel; they are not cancerous but could turn into a cancer in years to come if not removed. Polyps are removed at colonoscopy by cutting them out.
  • This is done by placing a small loop of wire through which a low current of electricity is passed, causing the stem to be burnt through.Afterwards the colonoscope is removed easily.


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