Colonoscopy is the examination of large intestine (colon) with a flexible tube inserted from the back passage which has a camera at its tip. Usually an intravenous sedative is preferred during the procedure which makes the patient relaxed and sleepy. Sometimes it can be done without a sedative or with Entonox (gas and air).
A bowel preparation is required starting a day before the procedure. This involves taking 2 sachets of strong laxative like Picolax or Moviprep with instructions provided. For detailed bowel preparation instructions, please click here.
The procedure can last approximately 20-30 minutes, and longer if any polyps are detected and have to be removed. The procedure does carry a small but possible risk of bleeding or bowel perforation (approximately 1 in 1500 chance), more common when a polypectomy is done (approximately 1 in 1000 chance). If the complication happens, sometimes a surgery is required to resolve the problem.
The results of the procedure can be given immediately afterwards. However if a biopsy is taken or a polyp is removed, it can take up to a week for the pathology results to be ready. Patients are normally able to return back to work the day after the procedure, however it may take 3-4 days for their bowel function to return to normal.