What is a Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is a test, which allows us to look directly at the lining of the large bowel (colon). In order to do this a colonoscope is gently passed through the back passage into the large bowel. The colonoscope is a flexible tube about the thickness of an index finger with a bright light and camera at the end. Biopsy samples are usually taken during the procedure and sent to the laboratory for analysis. The procedure usually takes about 30-40 minutes. The procedure is performed under general anaesthetic.


To allow a clear view, the bowel must be completely empty of waste material. Bowel preparation can be started at home or be taken in the hospital, however, this will depend on the age of the child and their ability to drink the medication required. It is important for your child to take all the laxatives prescribed. Once the bowel preparation has been started oral intake will be restricted and only clear fluids can be consumed for last 24 hours pre procedure.

After the test

After the test, your child may feel a little bloated with wind pains, but these usually settle quite quickly. Your child will go back to the ward to recover from the test.

The doctor will discuss the findings with you and your child. You will be given clear instructions on the next stage of your child’s care. Your child will be advised when to go home by the nurse.

Your child can normally resume eating and drinking 1 hour after the test. They may complain of a tummy pain and rectal bleeding but this should settle within a few days.

Possible complications

Colonoscopy carries a very small risk of damage to the lining of the large bowel (perforation). Should this happen, your child may require bowel surgery.

Below is a short video that your child can watch to prepare him/her before they come to see us.