What is a Colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is a procedure that enables your Doctor to examine the lining of the colon (large bowel) for abnormalities such as polyps, inflammation or early cancer more accurately than x-ray. The colonoscope is a small fibreoptic video instrument that allows the Doctor to visualise your bowel. The Doctor may pass a forcep through the colonoscope to take small tissue samples (biopsies) for examination by the pathology laboratory. If polyps are found they may be removed, thereby avoiding an operation.


Your Doctor may refer you for a colonoscopy to effectively investigate a number of symptoms including the following:


  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in bowel motions
  • Persistent constipation or diarrhoea
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease)
  • Polyps of the bowel or rectum
  • Screening for cancer of the bowel or rectum


Colonoscopy is generally well tolerated and rarely causes pain. Prior to the procedure you will be given a light anaesthetic via injection. This will make you sleepy and comfortable for the duration of your procedure. The small video camera called a colonoscope, is then gently passed through the rectum and large bowel and sometimes into the last part of the small bowel. This produces images that are viewed on screen by our specialists. The procedure usually takes approximately 15-30 minutes to complete.


To ensure the safe and effective practice of colonoscopy, specific preparation of your digestive system is required. For our Colonoscopy Preparation Instructions please click on the link below.


Procedure Preparation - Colonoscopy

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