Colonoscopy is a commonly performed medical procedure that allows the examination of the colon (large bowel) for abnormalities. Colonoscopy provides much better assessment of the colon than X-ray or CT, especially allowing biopsy samples to be taken for examination under the microscope. Colonoscopy also allows us to provide treatment by removing polyps and growth in the large bowel.

How do we do it?

Colonoscopy is performed using a flexible fibre-optic camera which allows us to see the whole of large bowel.

All our procedures are performed under sedation with anaesthesia administered by a specialist Anaesthetist. You often will not remember anything at all about the procedure and it is not uncomfortable.

While you might have heard of other people having this procedure done while they were awake, this is not the case with our practice.

Why is a colonoscopy performed? 

Colonoscopy is usually performed to either find out why you have symptoms or as a screening procedure for patients at risk of colon cancer. We could diagnosis ulcers, inflammation, polyps and bowel cancer much more accurately than X-rays or any other techniques. We can take samples of the colon and/or terminal ileum (small bowel) to be examined under the microscope.

Colonoscopy is commonly performed for:

  • National Bowel Cancer Screening program
  • Faecal occult test positive
  • History of polyps or bowel cancer (surgically treated)
  • Family history of bowel cancer
  • PR bleeding
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Change in bowel habit
  • Loss of weight
  • Iron deficiency
  • Diverticulitis or diverticular disease

If you have any of the above symptoms or conditions, please consult your GP to consider whether Colonoscopy should be performed with one of our Doctors.

Do I need to take bowel cleansing medications?

Yes. While this is an uncomfortable part of the procedure, it is necessary to allow us to see the bowel fully and clearly.

Our practice applies the most recent advances in research to patient care and we have different types of bowel preparation available, depending on your age and other medical conditions. These new bowel preparations are a lot more comfortable for our patients.

If you have an unpleasant experience with bowel preparation in the past, please inform us so we can discuss different options available that could make your experience better.

Treatment options during Colonoscopy

Colonsocopy is the best way to detect polyps. Polyps are growths in the large bowel that if unchecked, may develop into Cancers over time.

If we detect bowel polyps, we can often remove these without surgery. These procedures might include:

  • Polypectomy
  • Endoscopic mucosal resection (for larger polyp)
  • Coagulation therapy or full thickness removal (uncommon procedures to be performed for polyp removal)

Our Doctors are experienced in performing these treatments and will often discuss these in detail with you before your procedure.

How long does it take?

While the procedure itself does not take more than 45 minutes to complete, we ask you allocate a half day from your schedule. This allows admission time to the hospital, for the procedure to be completed and recovery time afterwards under clinical observation to be sure there are no complications.

It is important to note that as you will receive an anaesthetic:

  • Someone else needs to pick you up after the procedure as you are not allowed to drive.
  • You should not operate machinery the day of the procedure.
  • You are advised not to have any alcohol the day of the procedure.

Complications from colonoscopy are very rare. We will provide information in this regard when you book your procedure. Please discuss with us if you have any concerns.

Where is the procedure performed and how much does it cost?

The procedure is performed at Calvary Hospital (adult patients) and Hobart Specialist Day Hospital (adult and paediatric patients), Hobart Private hospital (paediatric patients)

Please note that there is a gap fee for this procedure. Our practice will provide you with more information at the time of booking. There are also charges from anaesthetists, excess from your insurance, and sometimes pathology charges (dependent on health funds). Please note that a waiting period might apply if you have just recently joined a health fund. You need to check with your health fund whether your policy covers for this procedure and associated costs (such as pathology costs)

Self funding patients:

If you do not hold private health insurance, or your fund does not cover for this procedure, our practice can assist you as a self-funding patient.

We will provide you with a quote for our doctors fee. Please note that this fee does not cover services provided by anaesthetists, hospital fees, pharmacy, medical imaging, pathology and medical clips that may need to be used during the procure. Contact details for the hospital and anaesthetists will be provided at the time of your booking, and quotes will be provided to you. We strongly advise you make contact with these entities to establish their costs.

Generally an amount of $3,000-5,000 will cover these expenses.

Do I need to see the doctor before booking in for the procedure?

Our practice offers Direct Access Colonsocopy. It is not necessary for you to see our Doctor in order to book in for the procedure. If your GP thinks that your health permits, then you might be able to book in directly. This is known as direct access endoscopy.

You will still be seen by our Doctors on the morning of the procedure at the hospital. Our Doctors will take a history of your symptoms, your past medical history, medication and allergies during this discussion.

In some instances our Doctors may need to see you prior to your procedure. This will be determined during the referral triaging process. If this is the case our Doctors will discuss your medical conditions in detail at a consultation in our rooms and then make arrangements for your procedure.

If you would prefer to discuss the procedure before proceeding to the Hospital, we can organise a consultation appointment. Please note, there is usually a wait to see our doctors in rooms.