Colonoscopy

colon and rectal cancer surgery types

A tube with a camera is put into your back passage so that the doctor can look at your large bowel.

Before the test

You have to clear your bowel before the test. You will be given a medicine to drink regularly before the test to clear out your bowels. You will also have to fast (not eat) and not drink for a time before the test. The hospital will give you information on exactly what to do.

Will I have pain relief / anaesthetic?

You may have a sedative just before the test to help you relax.

During the test

You will lie on your side and your doctor will put a long flexible tube into your back passage. This tube is called a colonoscope. A light inside the tube helps your doctor to see any abnormal areas or swellings. Photos and samples of your bowel can be taken.

How long does it take?

About 1 hour

Does it hurt?

It may be a little uncomfortable having the tube in your back passage.

After the test

Once the sedation wears off (about an hour), you can go home. Make sure you arrange for someone to take you home as you’re not allowed to drive for 24 hours after a sedative.

CT colonography – virtual colonoscopy

In some hospitals you may be offered a CT colonoscopy. This builds up a detailed picture of the tissues inside your bowel.

Before the test

Your bowels will need to be fully cleared beforehand with laxative tablets and fluids.

During the test

Your doctor puts a tube into your back passage and pumps in air or carbon dioxide to give a clearer picture. Then two CT scans are taken: one while you are lying on your back and the other on your front. You may be asked to hold your breath during the scan. The computer then matches up the two scans to make a 3D picture of your bowel. This is a ‘virtual’ picture.

For more information

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