Rapid Access Colonoscopy
Your GP may refer you directly for a colonoscopy without a specialist consultation prior to the procedure. We offer this service for a limited number of indications to patients without certain medical conditions that place them at higher risk for an endoscopic procedure.
Once you have filled in your online registration one of our practice nurses will contact you to ensure that you are eligible for this service and also provide you with information about the preparation for the procedure. It is important that your GP sends their referral to us as this will contain important information regarding your medical background.
It is also important you are satisfied that you completely understand the indications, preparation and risks before you go ahead with the procedure. If you have any questions or uncertainty after the telephone consultation with our practice nurse, we advise that you make an appointment to see a specialist prior to the procedure.
Colonoscopy is a technique which allows examination of the inside of the large intestine (colon) and the last part of the small intestine. A thin flexible tube about the diameter of the index finger is inserted into the back passage and guided under direct vision around the colon. The inside of the colon can be seen on a video screen and photographs can be taken. It is usually a day only procedure not requiring an overnight stay.
It is often used to assess for polyps (benign growths in the bowel which may become malignant), cancer, inflammatory disorders and a source of bleeding. Along with this, specimens can be taken and certain therapy can be performed such as polyp removal (polypectomy) and halting bleeding. Other more significant interventions can also be performed in more complex cases which are not suitable for rapid access.
Colonoscopy is regarded as safe and well tolerated but there are always risks involved with any medical intervention that need to be thoroughly understood prior to the procedure. Potential risks or complications include bleeding and damage to the bowel wall including perforation. These complications are very rare and occur in less than 1 in 1000-2000 procedures. This may lead to surgical intervention in some cases. There are also anaesthetic risks involved with these procedures. Although colonoscopy is the gold standard test for visualising the colon at present, in rare instances potentially important disease processes can still be missed.
A special diet is required beforehand and bowel preparation is required to cleanse the bowel the day prior to the procedure. A set of instructions will be given to you. The bowel preparation may cause dehydration or alternatively a drop in certain electrolytes in the blood. This could lead to headaches, dizziness or lethargy. It is important to consume fluids that contain salts such as clear soups or electrolyte solutions such as sports drinks on the day of the preparation. You will also be instructed on fasting periods and how to manage your usual medications. Please inform nursing staff prior to or at arrival if your bowel preparation has not resulted in watery, clear stools as more preparation may be required.
After the procedure, you must not drive for 24 hours. You may feel some discomfort from excess wind after the procedure but this is short lived. Any more significant symptoms such as bleeding or more severe abdominal pain must should be reported to the nursing staff after the procedure. If the symptoms appear after you are discharged, you may need to attend the emergency department.
Your proceduralist will inform you with the results of the procedure in the recovery area. You will be given a copy of your report and instructions on who to follow up with and when. You may require a consultation with the proceduralist if there is a finding that requires follow up or treatment. Any biopsies or polyps removed will be sent to the pathology laboratory for analysis. Your GP will also be copied in on all results and therefore it is important to have the correct GP details listed on your registration form.
You may be a candidate for rapid access colonoscopy if one or more of the below applies to your circumstances
- Positive FOBT (faecal occult blood test) through the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program or other
- Family history of colorectal cancer
- Personal history of polyps due for follow up colonoscopy
- Rectal bleeding
To be eligible for rapid access colonoscopy you must be
- Less than 75 years of age
- Medically fit and healthy
- Not on blood thinning medications apart from low dose aspirin (Cartia, Astrix)
- Not on diabetic medications (insulin or tablets)
- No history of significant heart, lung, liver, kidney disease or diabetes
- No prior issues with anaesthetic
- Covered by private health insurance and wanting to have colonoscopy at Sydney Adventist Hospital
Rapid Access Colonoscopy Fee Information
A estimate of costs will be provided to you during your telephone consultation with the practice nurse. Do not hesitate to speak to one of our team if you have further questions regarding the estimate.