A colonoscopy is an procedure which enables us to visualise the inside of the large bowel using a flexible telescope. The scope is passed all the way around the bowel following bowel preparation to cleanse the colon. It takes 15-20 minutes and is usually done with a mild sedative.
An upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy is a procedure used to visualise the inside of the oesophagus (gullet), stomach and duodenum using a flexible telescope. This procedure can also be known as a gastroscopy or simply an endoscopy.
A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a procedure in which the inner lining of the lower large intestine is examined with a scope. This is commonly used to evaluate gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, change in bowel habit or rectal bleeding and looks at the first 100cm of the bowel. An enema is required before the procedure.
During an endoscopic procedure, if a polyp (small growth within the bowel) is encountered, there are a number of ways in which these can be dealt with. This will depend upon the size of the polyp, whether or not it has a stalk and it’s location within the bowel. Techniques include cold snare biopsy or hot forceps biopsy using cautery for smaller polyps. Larger polyps with a stalk can be removed using a hot snare biopsy where the polyp is lassoed and removed completely. Finally, larger polyps can be removed using a special technique called endoscopic mucosal resection, which is often accompanied by the area of the polyp being tattooed to mark its location for future surveillance. Polyps are sent for histology (microscopic evaluation) and depending upon the result, number and location, will determine how they need to be followed up.