A colonoscopy is a procedure to examine your large intestine (colon) and rectum to investigate any symptoms or problems.

The procedure is carried out using a colonoscope, a thin, flexible tube fitted with a small light and video camera. The camera sends detailed images of your lower gastrointestinal system back to a monitor, where they are viewed by your consultant or specialist nurse.  

Who is suitable for a colonoscopy?

If you are experiencing rectal bleeding, changes in bowel habits, chronic diarrhoea or constipation, or unexplained weight loss or tiredness, your consultant may recommend a colonoscopy to: 

  • Investigate these symptoms and problems 
  • Screen for colon cancer 
  • Check for any growths or polyps – these can also be removed  
  • Take small samples of tissue (biopsies) if needed

What does a colonoscopy involve? ​

A colonoscopy usually takes about 30-45 minutes. Your consultant or specialist nurse will insert the colonoscope into your back passage. They will then inflate your abdomen slightly with carbon dioxide gas to get a clearer view of your large bowel. Video images sent from the colonoscope will enable your doctor to examine your colon and rectum. If they find any small growths or polyps, they will remove them or take a small sample of tissue (biopsy), using a small surgical tool through the endoscope.   

The procedure isn’t painful, but it can feel uncomfortable. You will be offered a painkiller or sedation.  

What can you do to prepare for a colonoscopy?

Your consultant will discuss with you how you can prepare. You may be asked to follow a special low fibre diet in the days before the procedure. You will also be asked to take a laxative to clear your bowels. This can help to improve the quality and detail of the pictures collected by the colonoscope’s camera. 

What is the recovery period?

Most people can go home an hour or two after the examination. You might have some stomach pains or bloating for a few hours after the procedure, and you may experience some rectal bleeding.  

Self-pay package

As well as working with all major insurance companies, we also welcome patients who wish to pay for themselves. Below is an outline of our self-pay hospital package which includes tests, hospital stay and procedure. Please note: it does not include consultant fees, which may vary.   

Hospital package from £1,970 (daycase).

Indicative consultant fees from £300.

When enquiring about this package, please quote H2002E.

  • Histology tests 
  • Recovery time in the endoscopy suite  
  • Nursing 
  • Theatre procedure and anaesthetics 
  • Consultant consultation fee  
  • Post-op and discharge medication 
  • Neurophysiology, dietician, physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy 
  • Non-standard diagnostic and histology tests 
  • Any additional costs not specified in the package inclusions  

Our consultants

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Please note - regrettably we are unable to answer specific medical questions or offer medical advice via email or telephone.