This is a simple test used to detect the presence of a number of diseases in the large bowel, or ‘colon’, and in the part of the small bowel just above the colon, called the ‘terminal ileum’. These problems can include ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease which are collectively known as ‘inflammatory bowel disease’. Other forms of inflammation exist such as those due to infections (e.g. salmonella) and allergy-induced inflammation. Sometimes causes of bleeding from the bottom can be identified e.g. benign growths called ‘polyps’ – if these are found then they can be removed safely and easily via the colonoscope.

Your doctor will advise you of the risk which is extremely small of a colonoscopy; approximately 1 in 1000-5000 of making a hole in the bowel, or causing bleeding, and 1 in 100 if removal of a polyp is needed. Dr Thomson has not had any of these complications during colonoscopy involving diagnosis and biopsy, or polypectomy. The preparation for the colonoscopy is detailed in the previous section ‘Planning for the procedure’. The average time of the colonoscopy for Dr Thomson is 9 minutes and he will come out to talk to you afterwards and requests that you stay close to the endoscopy suite to enable immediate feedback. Your child should have no problems at all – a small amount of blood may be seen in the 24 hours after the procedure in the bowel motions, which is normal and due to the taking of the very small pieces of tissue of the lining of the bowel, which are called biopsies – these are evaluated by microscopy later for diagnostic purposes.

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