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Direct Access Colonoscopy

Your GP has requested that you undergo colonoscopy without consultation first. We are able to offer this service to patients having colonoscopy for a limited range of indications including previous polyps or a positive faecal occult blood test.  

If you have not had this procedure performed before it is important that you familiarise yourself with the preparation and satisfy yourself that you understand the procedure and its risks adequately. If you have any questions after reading this information we request that you make an appointment to see your specialist prior to your colonoscopy. 

Colonoscopy is a test performed to examine the large intestine from the anus to the point where the large bowel joins the small intestine. It provides excellent viewing of the inner lining of the colon and is useful to exclude serious bowel problems such as polyps, cancer and inflammatory conditions. The procedure is usually performed as a day surgery procedure in an endoscopy unit. The procedure is performed under a light general anaesthetic with an anaesthetist present. Preparation is required the day prior to the colonoscopy. This involves drinking a salt solution, which will cause diarrhoea to cleanse the bowel.  The instructions for this preparation are included.  

The test itself takes about twenty to thirty minutes to perform. You will need someone to drive you home after the procedure and you will not be able to work or drive until the following day.  Your specialist will speak to you at the completion of the procedure and a written report will be provided for you.  If any abnormality is noted at colonoscopy it may be possible to biopsy or remove this at the time. Any tissue that is removed will be sent to the pathologist and analysed. It may take up to seventy-two hours to get pathology results.

Colonoscopy is a safe procedure but it is associated with small risks. The most significant risk is that of colonic perforation. Up to 1 in a 1000 patients undergoing diagnostic colonoscopy may suffer perforation of the colon where the bowel wall tears allowing gas or faecal material into the abdominal cavity. This may require abdominal surgery to repair. Patients having polyps removed from the colon have a slightly higher risk of perforation although this will not always require surgery. After removing polyps or taking a biopsy there is also a small risk of haemorrhage from that site up to a week afterwards.

Colonoscopy is an extremely accurate test but small polyps may not be seen. The risk of missing a significant polyp or cancer is extremely small.

It is important that if you have any major intercurrent illnesses like heart disease or significant respiratory impairment that you make an appointment to see your specialist prior to the procedure. If you are taking any blood thinners such as Warfarin, aspirin, Xarelto, Eliquis, Iscover or Plavix you must notify the office prior to the procedure for advice about whether this can be continued.

If you have any further questions or concerns please make an appointment to see your specialist prior to your procedure.

People who are eligible

  • Are under 80 years of age

  • Are fit and healthy

  • Are not taking anticoagulant medication

  • Have no history of heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy, kidney or liver disease, or serious lung disease

  • Have private health insurance or wish to have their colonoscopy in a private hospital

  • Have a current referral

  • Have one of the following indications for colonoscopy:

    • Positive faecal occult blood test

    • Appropriate family history of colorectal cancer

    • Personal history of precancerous polyps

    • Rectal bleeding in a patient over the age of 50


All costs will be advised on completion of the online booking form. For some patients, there will be a gap between the doctor’s fees and the amount paid by the health funds.


Northern Sydney Colorectal Clinic specialists offer Direct Access Colonoscopy to eligible patients. This allows referring doctors to request a colonoscopy without the need for an initial specialist consultation.

A booking for Direct Access Colonoscopy cannot be confirmed until you have spoken to our staff and the necessary hospital booking forms have been completed.

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