A colonoscopy is an endoscopic examination performed through the anus (very uncommon to be preformed through a stoma) to the caecum/terminal ileum.
It can be combined with gastroscopy (very common) or it can be a stand alone procedure.
Its a day procedure and usually will take 20 minutes to perform.


  1. Rectal/anal/lower GI bleeding
  2. Abdominal pain
  3. Recent diverticulitis
  4. Screening for bowel cancer/positive FOBT
  5. Surveillance following previous colonoscopies where polyps are found/removed; plus following bowel surgery.


  1. Incomplete exam – this can occur where the intended destination (caecum/terminal ileum) is not reached. It can be due to looping; poor prep; extensive diverticular disease causing angulation/narrowing of the bowel; bowel pathology (e.g. obstructing cancer). If the exam is complete then usually depending on the indication a further examination would be organised (e.g. barium enema; CT colonography). Dr Ahmed will discuss this with you.
  2. Perforation of the bowel. This is a rare complication but can occur in 1/1000 procedures. It can occur due to the colonoscope being pushed through the side wall of the bowel – or torque pressure causing a blowout hole (usually in the sigmoid colon). Perforations also can occur following polyp removal – either using diathermy (hot snare) or injecting/lifting techniques to remove large polyps. Perforation may result in immediate pain and surgery maybe required. Sometimes pain has a delayed onset and therefore if you are unwell when you are at home ; it would best to contact the hospital and report to the emergency department. Again surgery maybe indicated.


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