Colonoscopy is a safe, effective means of visually examining the lining of the bowel using a long, flexible, tubular instrument. It is used to diagnose colon and rectum problems and to perform biopsies and remove colon polyps.
Most colonoscopies are done on an outpatient basis with minimal inconvenience and discomfort. It is performed by a gastroenterologist who is an accredited physician and is recognised by the Royal Australian College of Physicians as specialist in diagnosing and treating disorders of the bowel. A gastroenterologist is also accredited by the Australian Gastroenterology Society as an expert in performing colonoscopy.
Your physician may recommend a colonoscopy exam if you have a change in bowel habit or bleeding, indicating a possible problem in the colon or rectum. A colonoscopy is also necessary to:
The bowel must first be thoroughly cleared of all faeces before a colonoscopy. This is done one to two days before the exam as prescribed by your physician. [ See Colonoscopy Instructions ]. The colonoscope is inserted and when possible will be advanced to the portion of the colon where the small intestine enters. During a complete examination of the bowel, your gastroenterologist will remove polyps or take biopsies as necessary.
The entire procedure usually takes less than an hour. There is little pain because, sedation is given prior to the colonoscopy to relieve anxiety and discomfort, this will make you very sleepy. Following the colonoscopy, there may be slight discomfort, which quickly improves with the expelling of gas. Most patients can resume their regular diet later that day. Because you are sedated during the colonoscopy you cannot drive and must make plans to be driven home by a relative/friend.
With colonoscopy, it is now possible to detect and remove most polyps without abdominal surgery. Colonoscopy is more accurate than a Barium enema X-ray of the colon to detect polyps or early cancer. Frequently, polyps can be removed at the same time, a major step towards the prevention of colon cancer.
Most people experience no problems following a colonoscopy, however rare complications have occurred.
I have read and understood the benefits of colonoscopy, the alternatives to colonoscopy, all the risks and all the potential complications of colonoscopy outlined in this document provided to me by Dr Paul Froomes. Having read and clearly understood the contents of this document I find nothing that would prevent me from having a colonosocpy. Therefore, I willingly consent to undergo colonoscopy on myself.