Colonoscopy is a procedure that examines the inside of your large bowel, called the “colon”. The colonoscope is a long flexible tube that is inserted into the rectum and gently manoeuvred around the colon. Colonoscopy allows the doctor to look for any abnormalities of the bowel lining, such as polyps and bowel cancer. It also provides an opportunity to sample the bowel (“biopsies”) as well as performing therapeutic procedures if required – such as removal of polyps, treatment of bleeding areas, or stretching of narrowed areas (“dilatation”).
Good clear views of the bowel are essential to enable the doctor to look for any abnormalities. To achieve this the bowel needs to be cleaned thoroughly. The accuracy of colonoscopy is highly dependent on the quality of your bowel preparation. It is important to carefully read and follow instructions for the bowel preparation that are provided. This will impact upon the quality of the examination.