Here is some information on the different types of endoscopic procedures we perform.
Colonoscopy involves examination of the entire colon, and the last bit of the small bowel when appropriate. Like flexible sigmoidoscopy, an endoscope is passed through the anus, but colonoscopy requires a more extensive preparation of the bowel to ensure the endoscopist can see it all. The precise bowel cleansing instructions vary from hospital to hospital, so only general principles are given here. The preparation involves following a low-residue diet for two or three days, followed by taking laxative medication that will empty the colon. The laxatives will cause diarrhoea. Whichever endoscopy unit you go to will provide full instructions and the laxatives in advance.
Colonoscopy can be performed with or without sedation. Whether you choose to have sedation or not, you will usually be given an injection to relax the muscles of the bowel wall. This helps to get a good view of the entire bowel. The procedure normally takes between 20 and 30 minutes. Most polyps can be removed during the initial procedure, although some require more than one.