Bronchoscopy is a diagnostic procedure in which a tube with a tiny camera on the end is inserted through the nose or mouth into the lungs. The procedure provides a view of the airways of the lung and allows doctors to collect lung secretions or tissue specimens.

This test may require an overnight stay in the hospital. Fasting is required for 6 to 12 hours before the test. Your doctor may want you to avoid any aspirin or ibuprofen medications before the procedure. You must sign an informed consent form. Arrange for transportation to and from the hospital. Many people want to rest the following day, so make arrangements for work, child care, or other obligations.


Colonoscopy lets the physician look inside your entire large intestine, from the lowest part, the rectum, all the way up through the colon to the lower end of the small intestine. The procedure is used to look for early signs of cancer in the colon and rectum. It is also used to diagnose the causes of unexplained changes in bowel habits. Colonoscopy enables the physician to see inflamed tissue, abnormal growths, ulcers, and bleeding.

For the procedure, you will lie on your left side on the examining table. You will probably be given pain medication and a mild sedative to keep you comfortable and to help you relax during the exam. The physician will insert a long, flexible, lighted tube into your rectum and slowly guide it into your colon. The tube is called a colonoscope which transmits an image of the inside of the colon. You may be asked to change position occasionally to help the physician move the scope. The scope also blows air into your colon, which inflates the colon and helps the physician see better.

If anything abnormal is seen in your colon, like a polyp or inflamed tissue, the physician can remove all or part of it using tiny instruments passed through the scope. That tissue (biopsy) is then sent to a lab for testing. Bleeding and puncture of the colon are possible complications of colonoscopy. However, such complications are uncommon.

Flexible sigmoidoscopy

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is an examination of the rectum and the left side of the colon (the large bowel). You will be given an enema to clear the faeces out of the lower bowel before the test. The examination normally takes about 10 minutes and can be performed with or without sedation. Flexible sigmoidoscopy does not examine the whole colon, but has the advantages that full bowel preparation is not usually required and it may be more appropriate than colonoscopy in some situations.


Gastroscopy is an endoscopic examination of the oesophagus (gullet), stomach and duodenum (first part of the small bowel). It is also referred to as ‘OGD’ (Oesophago Gastro Duodenoscopy) or sometimes simply ‘endoscopy’. The stomach must be empty, so you have nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours prior to the test. In the endoscopy unit, a small flexible tube is passed through the mouth into the stomach and duodenum. The examination normally takes only a few minutes, although it may take longer if biopsies or endoscopic treatment are required. Gastroscopy can be performed with throat spray to numb the throat, or with sedation given intravenously. It is entirely up to you which you choose.

Contact information

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

Diagnostic Unit
2nd Floor, Lift Bank B

T: 020 3315 3053 (appointments)
T: 020 3315 8453 (reception)

West Middlesex University Hospital

Endoscopy Unit
East Wing, Ground Floor
Mon–Fri, 8am–6pm 

T: 020 8321 2585 (Nursing station)
T: 020 8321 5752 (Endoscopy reception)


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