Open access Colonoscopy instructions and consent form information

Colonoscopy procedure
  • A Colonoscopy is where the doctor uses an instrument called a colonoscope to look at the inside lining of your bowel.
  • This procedure starts from your back passage (anus) and goes up to the right side of your large bowel (caecum). This is done to see if there are any growths, polyps or disease in your
  • Small pieces of your bowel may need to be removed for pathology.
  • This procedure requires anesthetic.

In general, this is a very safe procedure but occasionally there are risks and complications with this procedure. (But without your knowledge we are taking many more risks in our day to day activities.  IE. Risk of colorectal cancer by 85th birthday 1/12. Death from smoking before age 70 is 1/2. Life time risk of death from road accident 1 in 200. However, death from a colonoscopy is reported in less than 1 in 40,000-130,000).

Reported risks include but are not limited to the following:
  • Mild pain and discomfort in the abdomen for one to five days after the procedure. This is usually due to trapped air. We use CO2 to minimize this problem.
  • Nausea and vomiting commonly related to bowel prep.
  • Faintness or dizziness, especially when you start to move.
  • Headache due to dehydration.
  • Less than 1 person in every 1,500 may accidently get a hole (perforation) to the bowel causing leakage of bowel contents into the abdomen.  Surgery may be needed to repair the hole.
  • About 1 person in every 100 will experience a bleed from the bowel where a polyp was removed. Further endoscopy, a blood transfusion or an operation may be necessary.  This is about 1 in 500 in the practice.
  • Delayed bleeding and abdominal pain and infections should be reported to the colonoscopist urgently for urgent evaluation.
  • Not being able to see the entire bowel. This can happen if your bowel is not completely clean or the colonoscope could not be passed to the end of your large bowel.
  • Heart and lung problems such as heart attack or vomit in the lungs causing emergency treatment may be necessary.
  • Change of anaesthetic from a sedation anaesthetic to a general anaesthetic.
  • ‘Dead arm’ type feeling in any nerve due to positioning with the procedure – usually temporary.
  • An existing medical condition that you may already have getting worse.
  Rare risks and complications include:
  • Bacteraemia (infection in the blood). This will need antibiotics.
  • Stroke.
  • Anaphylaxis (severe allergy) to medication given at the time of procedure.
  • Pain, redness or bruising at the sedation injection site (usually in the hand or arm).
  • Muscle aches and pains.
  • Allergy to medications given at time ofthe procedure. acknowledge that the doctor has explained;
  • my medical condition and theproposed procedure, including additional treatment if the doctor finds something unexpected. I understand the risks, including the risks that are specific to me.
  • An anaesthetic/sedation required for this procedure. I understand the risks, including the risks that are specific to me.
Other relevant procedure/treatment options and their associated risks:
  • The Doctors prognosis and the risks of not having the procedure.
  • That no guarantee has been made that the procedure will improve your condition even though it has been carried out with due professional care.
  • The procedure may include a blood transfusion.
  • Tissues and blood may be removed and could be used for diagnosis or management of your condition, stored and disposed of sensitively by the hospital.
  • If immediate life-threatening events happen during the procedure, they will be treated based on your discussions with the doctor or the Clinics Acute Resuscitation Plan.
  • A doctor other than the Consultant may conduct the procedure. You understand this could be a doctor undergoing further training.
  • You were able to ask questions and raise concerns with the doctor about your condition, the proposed procedure and its risks, and your treatment options.
  • Your questions and concerns have been discussed and answered to your satisfaction.
  • You understand you have the right to change your mind at any time, including after you have signed the Consent Form (link below) but, preferably following a discussion with your doctor.
  • You understand that image/s or video footage may be recorded as part of and during your procedure and that these image/s or video/s will assist the doctor to provide appropriate treatment.