Colonoscopy in Melbourne
Conditions and Symptoms Diagnosed
Your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy to examine inflammatory bowel disease, a history of colon polyps in you or a close relative, and to rule out colon cancer. The following symptoms of bowel disease can be effectively investigated using this procedure:
- Rectal bleeding
- Change in bowel habits (e.g. prolonged diarrhoea)
- Lower abdominal pain
- Blood in the stools
- Colon and bowel polyps
- Screening for colon cancer (colorectal cancer)
- Screening for bowel cancer
Colonoscopy is currently the best way of detecting and the only means of removing polyps from the bowel.
Colonoscopy is also used to treat certain conditions, preventing the need for surgery. Polyps can be removed through the colonoscope, biopsies can be taken, and bleeding can be stopped or prevented.Bowel cancer usually starts from a bowel polyp. Bowel polyps are small growths on the lining of the bowel wall. They are common, especially as we age. Polyps are usually non-cancerous. However, some have the potential to develop into bowel cancer in the future.
Colonoscopy Procedure Overview
After a light anaesthetic is given, a small camera is inserted with images viewed on a video screen – a far more accurate method than x-ray for detecting polyps, inflammation, or early cancer.
You will be asleep for a short period of time and will not be aware of the procedure.
To ensure the safe and effective practice of Colonoscopy, specific preparation of your digestive system is required. If attending Direct Endoscopy for treatment, please click on the link below and carefully read the preparation information.
Colonoscopy Services in Melbourne
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is colonoscopy painful?
What can colonoscopy detect?
When is colonoscopy needed?
Colonoscopy is required to exclude significant digestive problems. These situations include:
- Positive FOBT result
In Australia, it is recommended that adults over the age of 50 take what is called a Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT). This is a non surgical test that detects early signs of bowel cancer, such as identifying blood in stools. If there is a positive FOBT result, your doctor will likely get you to undergo a colonoscopy procedure to confirm the presence of bowel cancer or other abnormalities.
- Altered bowel habit such as persistent diarrhoea or constipation
- Rectal bleeding
- Abdominal pain
- Unexplained weigh loss
- Unexplained iron deficiency anaemia
- Family history of bowel cancer
If other members of your family have been diagnosed with bowel cancer, you may be at higher risk than the average Australian, and will be recommended to do a colonoscopy (even if you are younger than 50 years of age).
- Previous removal of polyps
If you’ve had colonoscopy in the past and had polyps or abnormal tissue removed, you’re at higher risk of developing further polyps in the future and may need to have follow-up colonoscopy procedures every 3-5 years.
How is colonoscopy done?
A colonoscopy is performed by specialist gastroenterologists, usually in day hospital settings.
Prior to the colonoscopy, you’ll be instructed to lie on your side and be administered an anesthetic or sedative injection. You will not experience any significant discomfort during the procedure.
After the anaesthetic has taken effect, your doctor will gently insert a flexible tube with a very small camera attached to the end (known as a colonoscope) into your anus, up the rectum and colon. Small amounts of air will be pumped to allow for better movement – this may cause a feeling of abdominal pressure but it will not be painful.
The camera attached to the colonoscope will then transmit images onto a video monitor, which your doctor will observe to perform the colonoscopy.
If abnormalities are found, a small tissue sample or biopsy will be acquired for laboratory testing (to identify whether there is the existence of cancer).
A colonoscopy can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on any additional procedures needed such as getting a tissue sample or removing polyps (growths that can potentially develop into cancer). Generally, you won’t have much recollection of the procedure after the anaesthetic has worn off.