This page will give you information about a colonoscopy. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

What is a Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a procedure to look at the inside of your large bowel (colon) using a flexible telescope (see figure 1). A colonoscopy is a good way of finding out if there is a problem in your large bowel.

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 colonography (a scan of your large bowel).

Figure 1 - Colonoscopy

The Procedure

What Does the Procedure Involve?

A colonoscopy usually takes 30 to 45 minutes.

If appropriate, the endoscopist may offer you a sedative or painkiller.

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.

What Complications Can Happen?

  • Allergic reaction
  • Breathing difficulties or heart irregularities
  • Blurred vision
  • Infection
  • Making a hole in your colon
  • Bleeding
  • Incomplete procedure

Following Surgery

How Soon Will I Recover?

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

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

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


JAG Accreditation

New Victoria Hospital has been awarded JAG accreditation by the Royal College of Physicians, offering our patients full confidence in the high quality and safety standards of our Endoscopy services.


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

If you would like to receive more information on a Private Colonoscopy at New Victoria Hospital or to make an appointment, please call our Outpatient Department on 020 8949 9020 or fill in our online form

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Professor Annette Fritscher-Ravens

MD PHD Medicine-gastroenterology
Profile and clinic times

Dr Babu Vadamalayan

Gastroenterology, Paediatrics
Profile and clinic times
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