Colonoscopy

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What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a procedure to look at the inside of your large bowel (colon) using a flexible telescope.

What are the benefits of a colonoscopy?

If the endoscopist (the person doing the colonoscopy) finds a problem, they can perform biopsies (removing small pieces of tissue) to help make the diagnosis.

Sometimes a polyp (small growth) is the cause of the problem and the endoscopist may be able to remove it during the procedure.

Are there any alternatives to a colonoscopy?

Other options include a barium enema (an x-ray test of your large bowel) or a CT colography (a scan of your large bowel).

What does the procedure involve?

A colonoscopy usually takes 30 to 45 minutes.

If appropriate, the endoscopist may offer you a sedative or painkiller which they can give you through a small needle in your arm or the back of your hand.

The endoscopist will place a flexible telescope into your back passage. Air will be blown into your large bowel to help the endoscopist have a clear view. The endoscopist will be able to look for problems such as inflammation or polyps. They will be able to perform biopsies and take photographs to help make the diagnosis.

How soon will I recover?

If you were given a sedative, you will usually recover in about 2 hours but this depends on how much sedative you were given. You may feel a bit bloated for a few hours but this will pass.

You should be able to return to work the next day unless you are told otherwise.

The healthcare team will tell you what was found during the colonoscopy and discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need.

Regular exercise should improve your long-term health. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

What complications can happen?

Some complications can be serious and can even cause death.

  • Allergic reaction
  • Breathing difficulties or heart irregularities
  • Heart attack or stroke can happen if you have serious medical problems
  • Blurred vision
  • Bleeding from a biopsy site or from minor damage caused by the telescope
  • Bleeding, if a polyp is removed
  • Infection
  • Making a hole in your colon
  • Missed polyp
  • Incomplete procedure

Availability

NHS/Private

Pricing*

Consultant
£326
Anaesthetist
-
Hospital
£1,113
Guide price
£1,439

*The prices shown are minimum guide prices only. Diagnostic scans and investigations are not included unless otherwise stated. The exact cost of treatment will be made clear to you before you proceed.

This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice your healthcare team gives you. This information is published under license from EIDO Healthcare UK and is protected by copyright. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print, download or otherwise reproduce it.

A colonoscopy is usually a safe and effective way of finding out if there is a problem with your large bowel.

What to do next
  1. Talk to us about ways to pay, either insured or self-pay, and find out if you need a referral from your doctor.
  2. If you need one, ask your doctor for a referral letter.
  3. Call us to book an appointment with a consultant.
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I can’t thank everyone enough for the amazing care given. Such lovely attentive nurses. I will definitely recommend St Hughs and Mr Riaz and his team. Brilliant hospital.

Could not fault anything about my stay in St Hughs. Everybody was wonderful. Thank you all.

Everybody was kind, considerate and a jolly bunch, which helps to put you at ease and gives you confidence in knowing that they know what they are doing. 5 stars.

All staff extremely kind, patient and friendly. A credit to the hospital. Thank you.

Very good hospital and very good staff. I have never met so many caring people in one place. The nursing was 1st class. The encouragement to walk was also very good.

I had an amazing experience during my time at St Hugh’s Hospital, from my initial consultation to the aftercare following my procedure. Communication with the cosmetic nurse was brilliant; every member of staff I met was kind respectful, caring and polite. My surgeon was fantastic, so professional and kind, I trusted his knowledge completely.