A colonoscopy is a procedure where a telescope (a colonoscope) is passed through the back passage to inspect the lining of the large bowel. This is the best way to find polyps and bowel cancer.

The procedure is performed in an operating theatre under intravenous sedation or general anaesthetic, and takes 20-30 minutes. You may feel sleepy for several hours afterwards.


  • Bowel cancer screening, particularly if there is a family history
  • Bowel symptoms, such as changes in bowel habit or bleeding from the bowel
  • Anaemia, Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Past history of colonic polyps, inflammatory bowel disease

Bowel Preparation is needed

Bowel preparation is needed before the procedure to allow the bowel to be cleaned out, so that the lining can be seen more easily.

Download the Bendigo Day Surgery Colonoscopy Preparation pdf for information about the bowel preparation medication and dietary changes that you should make to flush the bowel clean. If your bowel is not clean enough, the colonoscopy may need to be repeated.

If you are having an Open Access Colonoscopy

  • You will be given Bowel preparation instructions by the Specialists rooms. Please download the BDS Colonoscopy Preparation pdf for more information
  • Bowel preparation medication needs to be taken on the day before the procedure or as instructed
  • If you are concerned about a medical illness or if you are taking blood thinning medications, please let us know before you take your bowel preparation medication

After the procedure

You may feel sleepy for several hours, and will need someone to drive you home afterwards. You will be given written discharge instructions by the Nursing staff.

Your GP/Referring doctor will be sent a report with the results of the test. For Open Access colonoscopy your GP will need to see you for of follow-up after the procedure and arrange any ongoing management.

All Bendigo Day Surgery Specialists live and work in Bendigo and are able to help with your ongoing management, if required.

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