MBBS FRACS • Upper Gastrointestinal, Advanced Laparoscopic and General Surgery • Perth, Western Australia

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Colonoscopy is a procedure that involves the insertion of a flexible tube to examine the lining of the colon (large bowel). It also permits procedures to be carried out through the colonoscope, such as taking small tissue samples (biopsy) and the removal of polyps.
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Two days prior to the colonoscopy you will be instructed to commence a low residue diet.

On the day prior to the colonoscopy you will be asked to have only clear fluids and you will need to undergo bowel preparation to ensure that your colon is clear of fecal material before the procedure. You will be provided instructions on this process.

You will be advised if you may need to stop or alter some of your medications especially if you are taking insulin, iron, anticoagulants (e.g. Warfarin, aspirin or clopidogrel). If you are unsure, contact 9592 2298.

Please take your regular medications with a small sip of water on the day of the procedure.

Special Considerations

If you have serious medical (especially heart or lung) problems you should inform your Mr Ahmad, as other special precautions may be needed during your procedure.

What is done?

An intravenous needle is inserted and a sedative is given by an anaesthetist.
A rectal examination will be performed as part of the procedure. The colonoscope is then inserted through the rectum into the large intestine to allow inspection of the lining of the large bowel.

Biopsies may be taken and polyps will be removed during the procedure if it is safe to do so.
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Safety and risks

The overall risks of colonoscopy are low. Complications of sedation are uncommon and are usually avoided by administering oxygen during the procedure and monitoring oxygen levels in the blood.

Rarely, however, patients with severe cardiac or chest disease can suffer serious sedation reactions.

For inspection of the bowel alone, complications of colonoscopy are uncommon. Most surveys report serious complications occurring in less than one in a 1,000 examinations.

When removal of polyps is carried out, there is a small risk of perforation or bleeding from the site where the polyp has been removed. A number of other rare side effects can occur with colonoscopy, or any other endoscopic procedure.

Death is a recorded but very rare complication of the procedure, occurring less than one in twenty thousand procedures.

If you wish to have further details of complications you should ask Mr Ahmad before the procedure is performed. Colonoscopes are carefully disinfected after every procedure and the risk of transmitting infection is extremely low but cannot be totally excluded.

After the Test

You may feel drowsy after the procedure.
You must not attempt to drive or perform demanding tasks for the next 24 hours.

A responsible adult is required to accompany you home. Most patients can return to work the next day.

If you have any severe abdominal pain, bleeding or black stools from the back passage, fever, or other symptoms that cause you concern, you should contact your doctor, Mr Ahmad (office hrs) 9592 2298 or the Emergency Department.

Further information will be given to you at your appointment.

Colonic polyps

These are growths arising from the mucosa (inside lining) of the bowel. They are commonly benign but with time can transform into a malignant growth.
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Colonic polyp
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Colonic polyp potential progression from a benign to a malignant growth.

A colonic polyp can be resected (removed) during the colonoscopy procedure (whereas a colonic malignant growth will require removal of part of the colon.
Colonic polyp is removed using the snare, which is inserted through the working channel of the colonoscope.

The snare is a piece of wire loop that is placed at the base of the polyp and tightened to ‘cut off’ the polyp.

The polyp is then send to the laboratory for analysis.
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Clinical Associate Professor Hairul Ahmad MBBS FRACS
Upper Gastrointestinal, Advanced Laparoscopic and General Surgery
Perth, Western Australia
Practice Details

Suite 12, Waikiki Specialist Centre,
221 Willmott Drive, Waikiki WA 6169

Please call (08) 9592 2298 for an appointment.
Fax: (08) 6314 1524
or email us

Office hours

9am–4pm Monday to Friday

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