Some frequently asked questions...

What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a procedure that enables us to examine the lining of the rectum and colon. All procedures are done at Kensington Hospital.


Why is a colonoscopy performed?

We follow national guidlines 

  • as part of a routine screening for cancer ( Family History Guidelines)
  • on patients with known polyps or previous polyp removal ( Surveillance Guidlines)
  • follow up after bowel cancer ( Surveillance Guidlines)
  • to evaluate new bowel symptoms 
  • to evaluate chronic diseases such as inflammatory disorders

What preparation is required in advance of the colonoscopy?

The rectum and colon must be completely emptied of stool for the procedure to be performed. In general, preparation consists of consumption of a special cleansing solution or several days of clear liquids, laxatives and enemas prior to the examination.

A clean bowel allows the doctor to clearly see the bowel wall.

An unclean bowel increases the risk of infection. If you have not had the laxative preparation (Picoprep) and the special diet your colonoscopy will be cancelled.





NO SOLID FOOD—Drink only these clear fluids


AT 7.00AM

Add one sachet of laxative to 250ml warm water and drink. Follow with glasses of CLEAR FLUIDS throughout the day


Clear Fluids are:


 * Water

* Clear soup (Vegemite, Marmite, Promite, bouillon cube

* Coffee or Tea, Herbal Teas (NO MILK or dairy whitener.) Artificial Sweetener as desired.

* Dilute cordials (NO fruit juices with segments of fruit)

* Lemonade (sugar free)

* Jelly  (sugar free) do NOT add fruit

* Sugar free cordial


Aim to have around 2—3 litres or 8—12 glasses of

CLEAR FLUIDS on this day






AT 7.00PM

Add one sachet of laxative to 250ml warm water and drink. Follow with 2 or more glasses (250ml) of CLEAR FLUIDS before going to bed.


After completion of your last Picoprep you may

continue to drink water up until 2 hours prior to

 your admission.

What can be expected during the colonoscopy?

After you have taken your first bowel prep, drink clear fluids only

After you have taken your second bowel prep, you may drink clear fluids until 6 hours prior to your admission.  Then drink water only up until 2 hours prior to admission.

You will need someone to bring you to the hospital and to take you home after the surgery.                                                                                               

YOU CANNOT DRIVE YOURSELF  because you will have been given some medicine to make you sleepy (Sedation).

What if the colonoscopy shows an abnormality?

If your surgeon sees an area that needs more detailed evaluation, a biopsy may be obtained and submitted to a laboratory for analysis. Placing a special instrument through the colonoscope to sample the lining of the colon does this. Polyps are generally removed. The majority of polyps are benign (non-cancerous), but your surgeon cannot always tell by the appearance alone. They can be removed by burning (fulgurating) or by a wire loop (snare). It may take your surgeon more than one sitting to do this if there are numerous polyps or they are very large. Sites of bleeding can be identified and controlled by injecting certain medications or coagulating (burning) the bleeding vessels. Biopsies do not imply cancer, however, removal of a colonic polyp is an important means of preventing colorectal cancer.

What happens after the colonoscopy?


It is important to drink plenty of fluids following the procedure and we recommend a light diet. You may have some abdominal discomfort for a few hours. This is due to air pumped into your colon during the procedure. This can be relieved by soaking in a hot bath, placing a hot pad on your abdomen or taking 2 panadol tablets 4—6 hourly

( to a maximum of 8 tablets in 24 hours).

You may have altered bowel habits for a few days after the procedure.


You may feel drowsy following the medication you received during the colonoscopy.

Because of this, until the next day, we advise you not to:


¨ Drive

¨ Use Public Transport

¨ Use Machinery

¨ Go back to work

¨ Sign legal documents


If polyps were found during your procedure, you may need to have a repeat colonoscopy. Your surgeon will decide on the frequency of your colonoscopy exams.

What complications can occur?

Complications can range from discomfort, pain, the possibility of bleeding requiring transfusion, and if the bowel is perforated, surgery  may be needed. Surgery may require the information of  a stoma ( a bag) and or removal of part of the bowel.

The rate of perforation is around 1:1000 -  1:500. If you decide not to proceed, please Contact Your Surgeon

It is important to contact your surgeon if you notice symptoms of severe abdominal pain, fevers, chills or rectal bleeding of more than one-half cup. Bleeding can occur up to several days after a biopsy.

Who will be there when I have my colonoscopy

Only John Lengyel and Mark Sanders will be actually doing your colonoscopy. There will be an anesthetist who will give you the sedation and monitor your hearta dn breathing. It takes a minimum of 3 trained nursing staff to assist with the procedure. One of these will be helping the anaesthetist and the other two will assist during the colonoscopy to take boipsies, set up the equipment and document the important points of the procedure.

Wherever the art of Medicine is loved, there is also a love of Humanity.


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