A colonoscopy is a procedure to inspect the inside of the bowel. A thin, flexible tube is passed around the large bowel, allowing direct examination via a camera.

Biopsies may be taken or polyps removed during colonoscopy. An intravenous sedative is given prior to the procedure, so you will be sleepy and comfortable during the examination. Colonoscopy is performed as a day procedure at a hospital of day surgery centre. 

Colonoscopy is generally a safe procedure. Complications are rare. These include intolerance to the bowel preparation or reaction to the sedatives. Serious complications occur in approximately 1 in 1000 examinations. Perforation (making a hole in the bowel) is extremely rare, but if it occurs surgery may be required. Rarely, major bleeding may require a blood transfusion. Your doctor will discuss this in more detail before the procedure.

The sedative you are given for the procedure may affect your memory of the procedure and the events of the next hour or so. Because the sedative may interfere with your judgement or ability to concentrate, you should not drive a motor car, ride a bicycle or travel unaccompanied, use dangerous machinery or sign important documents for the remainder of the day. 

It is necessary to arrange for a friend or relative to take you home from the hospital. You must have an adult staying with you in the home overnight following your procedure. Most people require just one day off work for a colonoscopy procedure. A medical certificate can be provided by your doctor on the day of the colonoscopy.

Further details and preparation for colonoscopy are provided in the following documents. For most patients, standard bowel preparation is recommended, but the required preparation in your case should be discussed at the time of booking. It is essential to follow carefully the bowel preparation instructions to provide the best chance of a successful colonoscopy.

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