Sievering Surgical Clinic

Sieveringer St 9, A-1190 Vienna Tel: 328 8777

Endoscopy Unit

What is Endoscopy?

Patient Information


Endoscopy: What You Need to Know


Coloscopy - Sigmoidoscopy - Gastroscopy -Proctoscopy - Rectoscopy

What Is a Colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure during which your large bowel (colon and rectum) is examined from the inside. In a coloscopy the whole of the colon can be examined and assessed using an endoscope. If required, samples of tissue can be taken. This examination is carried out using a flexible tube through the optics of which the doctor can see the colon. This instrument is called a coloscope. Proliferations of the mucous membrane, so-called polyps, can be removed through the coloscope. Colonoscopies are usually used to evaluate symptoms like abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, or changes in bowel habits. They are also used to screen for colorectal cancer.

Anatomy and function of the lower digestive system

The lower digestive system consists of the small and large intestine. By means of the movement of the bowels, known as peristalsis, the small intestine moves the food on slowly and extracts the nutrients from it in the process. The food is slowly thickened on its way through the large intestine. The digested material is then eliminated.

When should a coloscopy be carried out?

Many diseases and impairments if the large intestine, such as inflammation, discharge of blood and changes in bowel habits can only be diagnosed and treated correctly if the doctor can get an idea of the condition of the mucous membrane of the large intestine. The flexible optics of the coloscope allow the doctor to look at the various sections of the large intestine, to take minute samples of tissue for further examination and to remove polyps of the mucous membrane.

Let your doctor know about any special medical conditions you have, including the following:

  • Pregnancy

  • Lung conditions

  • Heart conditions

  • Allergies to any medications

  • If you have diabetes or take medications that may affect blood clotting. Adjustments to these medications may be required before the colonoscopy.

Never stop taking any medication without first consulting your doctor.

You may need to take antibiotics before the colonoscopy if you:

  • Have an artificial heart valve

  • Have ever been told you need to take antibiotics before a dental or surgical procedure

How Do I Prepare for the Procedure?

There may be some diet or fluid restrictions before the procedure but this will vary according to your doctor's instructions. You may be asked to limit or eliminate solid foods for a few days before the test. You may also be asked to take laxatives by mouth. Along with the dietary changes, your bowel must be further cleansed in order for colonoscopy to be successful. You will receive 2 enemas before the procedure because the rectum and lower intestine must be empty so that the intestinal walls can be seen. You will need to try to hold the enema solution for at least 5 minutes before releasing it.

Make sure you arrange for a driver to bring you home after the colonoscopy. Because you receive sedating medication during the procedure, it is unsafe for you to drive or operate machinery for 8 hours after the procedure. 24 hours before the examination do not eat any solid food or raw vegetables or fruits, then evacuate the bowels and drink plenty. Avoid fiber-rich nutrition


During the examination, which takes 20 to 60 minutes, you will first of all lie comfortably on your left side and then turn over onto your back. The assistant will look after you and assist the doctor. She will be there for you throughout the examination and also before and afterwards.

Contrary to popular belief, the examination seldom causes pain. You may feel mild cramping during the procedure. You can reduce the cramping by taking several slow, deep breaths during the procedure and apply pressure on your abdomen. The attending nurse will help you through this. When the doctor has finished, the colonoscope is slowly withdrawn while the lining of your bowel is carefully examined. If you are anxious of experiencing pain, the doctor can give you a sedative together with a painkiller. There have been no complications in the administering of these medications.


Lying in a comfortable position on your left side, the coloscope is gently inserted into the anus. A lubricating gel facilitates insertion and reduces the burning sensation. There are no known complications in this examination. The important thing is the right preparation: If the bowels are not empty, the doctor cannot completely assess the condition of the mucous membrane. We would therefore ask you to strictly follow the rules for preparing for the examination which your doctor discussed with you.


During the colonoscopy, if the doctor sees something that may be abnormal, small amounts of tissue can be removed for analysis (called a biopsy), and abnormal growths, or polyps, can be identified and removed. In many cases, colonoscopy allows accurate diagnosis and treatment without the need for a major operation. . If you suffer from a bleeding tendency, or take medication for rheumatism or anticoagulants, please inform the doctor accordingly! Complications can only occur if you take anticoagulants.

Removal of a polyp

Mucous membrane proliferations, so-called polyps, can be removed with the coloscope. Very rarely secondary bleeding occurs after the removal of a large polyp. This bleeding can, however, be stopped with the coloscope. In extremely rare cases a perforation of the intestinal wall can occur which must then be taken care of in an operation.

After the examination

You may feel some cramping or a sensation of having gas, but this usually passes quickly

After the examination you are free to eat what you like. In case of flatulence, taking exercise or a hot water bottle placed on the stomach will help.

If you have been given a sedative, please do not drive your car on the day of the examination. Do not do any jobs requiring high levels of concentration (for example operating a machine) on this day.

After the removal of a polyp, please pay attention to pain or discharge of blood and inform your doctor if necessary.

After a complicated surgical procedure your doctor will explain in detail the additional things you must take note of during the initial period after the operation.


In order that the coloscopy can be performed without any problems, please take note of the following:

Please observe the rules for the preparation discussed by your doctor and be conscientious in following them. Therefore, please come to the examination with an empty stomach and bowels. You may drink until shortly before the examination.

The examination rarely causes pain, if necessary you will be given appropriate medication for this pain.

Please inform us if you are affected by any of the following: Bleeding tendency, usage of anticoagulants or aspirin (Thrombo-Ass), heart disease, allergy, operations on the stomach or intestines, pregnancy.

If you have been given a sedative, you may not drive your car or operate machinery on the day of the examination.

In the event that polyps have been removed, please pay attention to pain, high temperature or discharge of blood and inform your doctor immediately.

Bleeding and puncture of the colon are rare but possible complications of colonoscopy. Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Excessive or prolonged rectal bleeding

  • Severe abdominal pain, fever or chills

If you have questions about this information, please don't hesitate to contact us:

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| 25.01.2011 | read more | print |