Welcome to Western Gastroenterology Services

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  Contact : (03) 9318 3399

What is Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a test where an operator use a long, thin flexible tube which contains a light and a tiny video camera that will passed through the rectum into the colon.

Why have a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy may be advised if you have symptoms such as:

  • Unexplained changes in bowel habits
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bleeding from the bowel
  • Weight loss
  • Other symptoms thought to be coming from the colon

Colonoscopy can detect inflamed tissue, ulcers and abnormal growths. The procedure is used to look for early signs of colorectal cancer. In some individuals with a family history of colorectal and all patients over the age of 50, this is one of the appropriate test to check for bowel cancer.

How do I prepare for gastroscopy?

A proper patient preparation is very important for the procedure to be successful and safe. If you have made an appointment with us for colonoscopy procedure, you will need to follow the prescribed preparation instructions link below.


How is colonoscopy performed?


Before the procedure, the health professionals with see you during your admission. You will be asked to lie down on your left side. Oxygen will be delivered to help with your breathing. An anaesthetist will give you a light anaesthetic (sedative) which is extremely safe and short acting. Most patients will be completely asleep and unaware of the procedure and you will be carefully monitored throughout the procedure by the doctor and medical staff.

The procedure takes about 20 to 45 minutes.

Examination of the bowel

Once sedated and lying in a comfortable position on your left side, the endoscope is passed through the anus and slowly guides it into the colon. A small camera in the end of the scope transmits a video image to a monitor, allowing the doctor to carefully examine the lining of your intestinal lining.

A variety of instruments can be passed through the endoscope that allows the doctor to directly treat many abnormalities with little or no discomfort. For example, your doctor might take biopsies, remove polyps or treat bleeding.

Removal of polyps and biopsy

A polyp is a small tissue growth attached to bowel wall. Although these are common in adults and are usually harmless, however, most colorectal cancer begins as a polyp so removing them early is an effective way to prevent cancer.

Small tissue samples or biopsies of the bowel may be taken for examination for many reasons and does not mean that cancer is suspected. This allows the doctor to review it with a microscope of signs of disease.

What happens after gastroscopy?

You will be monitored in the recovery area until the effects of the sedation medication have worn off. You may feel bloated because of the air introduced during the procedure, and will pass over the next hour or so. Very rarely you may pass a small amount of blood and this is often due to biopsies that have been taken and shouldn’t concern you. Most of the patients will be allowed to eat and drink immediately after the procedure unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Light food and beverages will be provided.

You can usually go home approximately an hour after the procedure.

In most circumstances your doctor will discuss your test results on the day of the procedure and you will receive of your report to take to your GP or specialist. Any biopsies will be sent to pathology and results will be available to your referring doctor after several days. A follow up appointment with your GP or specialist should be made to discuss the results and allow further treatment.

Because of the sedation given, it is very important to read the post procedure instructions link below.


Are there any risks or side effects?

Generally, very few people experience serious side effects from colonoscopy and polypectomy (polyp removal) when the procedure is performed by doctors who are specially trained in colonoscopy.

Complications are rare and the chance complications depends on the exact type of procedure that is being performed and other factors including your general health.

To ensure you are medically fit to undergo your procedure, usually risk screening will be done during our booking process and you may require to attend our pre-anaesthetic clinic if certain areas are not met. You will be attended by our highly qualified and experienced anaesthetists. Any concerns or questions you have in regards to your procedure and recovery will be available at our pre-anaesthetic clinic.


After the procedure, you may feel bloated and If a biopsy has taken or treatment performed, there may be minor bleeding. Very rarely, the bowel lining may be torn, and if this occurs you will be admitted to hospital for an operation to repair it. Link below is the information on how to deal with these possible risks.


Occasionally, people may be intolerant to the bowel preparation medication and experience headaches or vomiting.

Reactions to the sedative are also possible, but again rare.

In a few cases, if the colonoscopy is not successfully completed it may need to be repeated.

If you have any of the following symptoms in the hours or days after the colonoscopy you should contact the hospital or your doctor’s rooms immediately:

Severe abdominal pain

Black, tarry motions

Persistent bleeding from the anus


Other symptoms that cause your concern

We aim to provide the best quality healthcare. Our quality policies and procedures are in place to minimise the possible risks. The link below will provide you the information of the possible uncommon risks. UNCOMMON RISKS OF ENDOSCOPIC PROCEDURE