A colonoscopy is the most thorough method of screening the colon (large intestine). It is performed by using a colonoscopy which is a sophisticated instrument with a fibreoptic camera on the end. This is inserted into the anus and steered through the entire length of the colon (+/- 1.5 metres), while the patient is under local anaesthetic or sedation. This is usually done in the doctor’s rooms but can also be done in hospital.

Colonoscopy not only checks the colon (or large intestine) thoroughly, but we can biopsy or remove polyps or other abnormalities at the same time. If you have polyps in the colon, even though they may cause no symptoms, they can be detected and removed at colonoscopy before they become malignant, reducing your risk of getting colon cancer by up to 70%.

Colon cancer is the second most common cause of cancer in the Western World. If a cancerous growth is already present, it can be diagnosed at colonoscopy by means of biopsy. Surgery can then be planned. The sooner this is done the better chance there is of a cure.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I prepare for a colonoscopy?

In order to look inside the colon, we need to first thoroughly clean the inside of the bowel.

We use 4 Senekots two nights before the procedure to start things off. Then at noon the day before the procedure you would drink the first of four glasses of “Picoprep”, drinking the following three glasses at two hourly intervals until the last one at 6 pm. The preparation and the instructions can be obtained from my office.

How long will I be in hospital?

One night

How, what and when can I eat after surgery?

You may have a small supper after your operation, and resume normal eating the following day. Long-term, you may develop diarrhoea after a very fatty meal, although most patients don't experience this

When can I go back to work?

You will need to be off work for about 10 days.

When can I resume normal activities?

I advise no driving or physical activity for 5 days. Thereafter, it depends on how much pain you have

How long will I have pain?

This varies, but you would usually require analgesics for between five and 10 days after surgery.

What about the dressings?

There are dissolving sutures under the skin which you won't see. Leave the dressings on for two weeks. They are waterproof, so bathing or showering is okay.

Will I need a follow-up visit?

You will need to come back for a short follow-up visit two weeks after surgery.

What are the long-term effects of having no gallbladder?

The gallbladder is a rudimentary organ. Occasionally, patients experience diarrhoea after a fatty meal, although this is uncommon. Most patients have no long-term effects whatsoever