Gastrointestinal endoscopy is one of the most commonly performed procedures in Australia, either gastroscopy (examining the stomach and gullet) or colonoscopy (examination of the large bowel), or both together.

It is not necessary to be completely asleep for either procedure.  Both are usually carried out with intravenous sedation so you are snoozing lightly the whole way through.  Our aim is to have you comfortable and hopefully awake and clear headed after the procedure as soon as possible.  We use the same drugs that are used for a general anaesthetic, only in lower quantities so that you are sedated. but not totally asleep.  We understand many people are concerned that they will recall some parts of the procedure, with the level of sedation that is commonly used most patients will have no recall of the procedure itself.  A very small percentage of patients will have some vauge recollection of some parts of the procedure.  The commonest part to recall is the very end of the procedure.   If the telescope is just about to be removed and you are starting to wake up it is safer to not give you any further sedation.  This part of the procedure is not uncomfortable at all.

It is not uncommon to have some discomfort after colonoscopy due to the presence of the gas used to expand the bowel so it can be examined.  This should settle quickly after the procedure.  The best way to relieve this discomfort is to put aside your inhibitions, relax, and allow the gas to pass naturally.  If abdominal pain persists or continues to increase after the procedure you should contact your proceduralist or the hospital where you had the procedure.