If you have abdominal pain, discomfort or other symptoms which your doctor believes are related to the stomach, intestine or bowel, your doctor may refer you to a surgeon for further investigations.
In order to ascertain the origin of your symptoms, it may be necessary to look inside the stomach and small bowel (endoscopy) or inside the large bowel (colonoscopy). These investigations allow the surgeon to examine the inside of your body and, if required, take small samples of tissue (biopsies) for examination under the microscope.
The use of a small flexible telescope equipped with a camera and bright light allows the surgeon to look directly inside the intestine to diagnose disease. When this is performed in the gullet, stomach and duodenum, it is referred to as an “endoscopy” or “gastroscopy”. When it is used to study the large bowel it is referred to as a “colonoscopy” or “flexible sigmoidoscopy” depending on the part of the bowel that is being studied.
The procedure is usually performed as a day case/ambulatory procedure, and can be performed at the Specialist Medical Clinic under light sedation, convenient for the patient. Once the patient has been prepared, the endoscopy itself usually takes less than 10 minutes to complete, colonoscopy usually takes a little longer.