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What is a colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is an examination of the full length of the inside of the bowel using a flexible camera. It is the gold standard screening test for bowel cancer. The London Clinic can offer colonoscopy in a private, comfortable and stress-free environment.

Bowel cancer affects one in twenty people in their lifetime and it becomes more common as you get older. Most colorectal cancers develop from small, slow-growing growths called polyps. They can be found in 40% of people over fifty and most are harmless, but some may contain abnormal or precancerous cells.

The London Clinic’s expert endoscopists can identify and remove polyps during your colonoscopy. This can diagnose tumours at an early stage and also prevent cancer developing. 

Colonoscopy technology concept with 3d rendering endoscope inside of intestine

Understanding your investigation

The London Clinic has a dedicated, state-of-the-art Endoscopy Unit, with a Saturday service offering patients more flexibility and choice. We have a team of experienced consultant gastroenterologists and endoscopists that can advise you about preparing for the procedure and answer any questions or concerns.

Why would I need a colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy can be done as a routine screening test, particularly in people with a history of polyps, inflammatory bowel disease or a strong family history of bowel cancer. 

It can also be used to investigate new bowel symptoms and diagnose conditions including inflammatory bowel disease, diverticular disease and cancer. It should be considered in anyone with:

  • Bleeding from the back passage
  • Unexplained anaemia
  • A change in bowel habit
  • Chronic diarrhoea or constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Slime or mucous in the stools
  • Suspected polyps

What is the preparation for colonoscopy?

You will be given laxative bowel preparation the day before the colonoscopy. You will also be advised on ways to modify your diet by eating lower roughage foods. This will help your endoscopist get clear views throughout the bowel.

Our expert multi-disciplinary team will provide you with more detailed guidance on what you can eat and drink prior to the procedure. They will also advise on when to take any treatments you have been prescribed and whether to stop blood-thinning medications. 

Colonoscopy facts

Your consultant will perform the colonoscopy as an outpatient procedure. No anaesthetic is necessary; however, sedation can be used to reduce discomfort and anxiety. At The London Clinic, you can choose whether you would prefer to be sedated or not.

Your consultant will insert the colonoscope into your anus. Small amounts of carbon dioxide gas are infused to expand the bowel and give better views. The endoscopist will guide the thin, flexible tube through the bowel, up to the last part of the small intestine. There is a small camera on the end of the device, which relays high-quality images to a computer screen.

Your doctor will inspect the whole bowel, painlessly remove any polyps found using special instruments and take biopsies for analysis. The procedure is usually completed within 30 minutes.

Colonoscopy recovery

Most patients having colonoscopy at The London Clinic are up and about straight after the procedure and can return to normal activities. However, if any large polyps have been removed, you should rest at home for the day, to prevent bleeding.

If you have sedation, you will recover in our purpose-built unit for about an hour afterwards. You will need an escort to take you home. You should avoid alcohol and shouldn’t drive or work for 24 hours, as you won’t be as mentally alert as usual.

After the procedure, you might have some wind and cramping pain, this soon settles. Over-the-counter painkillers or a hot water-bottle can help. 

Your consultant may arrange an appointment to discuss the results of biopsies and tests on removed polyps. Pathology laboratory results are usually available in three to four working days. They may also recommend follow-up colonoscopy. Whether you need this will depend on the pathology results, the size and number of polyps, your age and any other risk factors

Why choose The London Clinic?

The London Clinic is dedicated to providing the best, personalised healthcare with over 600 world-renowned consultants available to offer informed health advice and treatment.

Spanning Harley Street and Devonshire Place, The London Clinic is situated in the heart of London’s internationally-known medical district. This central location, together with state-of-the art technologies and facilities that are not widely available in other hospitals, makes The London Clinic the hospital of choice for around 120,000 patients every year.

The London Clinic is an HTA licensed and JACIE accredited cancer centre with an ‘Excellent’ MacMillan Quality Environment Mark and with access to a Level 3 intensive care unit.

Offering affordable and competitive self-pay packages and expert support from Clinical Nurse Specialists and our specialised multidisciplinary team, over 98% of our patients said they would recommend The London Clinic to their friends and families.

Treatment cost

The London Clinic offers affordable, competitive self-pay packages for certain treatments. An All-Inclusive Package for this treatment is available from £1,800.

Patients have the option to spread the cost of treatment with Chrysalis Finance.

Please call +44 (0)20 3613 7502 to speak to our helpful team to find out more and to book an appointment.

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