Ileocolonoscopy – Information for Patients and Families

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY-1411-2023
  • Departments:
  • Last Updated: 1 September 2023


This leaflet has been produced to give you general information. Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet. It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and the healthcare team, but may act as a starting point for discussion. If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team.

What is an ileocolonoscopy?

An ileocolonoscopy is a test that allows the doctor to look at the end of the small bowel and the colon (also known as the large bowel) for any abnormalities.  This is to confirm or rule out a condition or diagnosis.

An endoscope (a flexible tube with a camera on the end) is passed into the bottom to look at the lining of the gut and to take tiny biopsies (samples of tissue).  The test lasts about 45 minutes and the results will be available after three weeks.

If your child is also having a gastroscopy, this will be done first followed by the ileocolonoscopy.

What will happen?

If your child is on the morning list:

  • stop the liquid diet at 2.30 am
  • do not drink any water or fluid from 6.30 am

If your child is on the afternoon list:

  • stop the liquid diet at 7.30 am
  • do not drink any water or fluid from 11.30 am

What will happen in hospital?

  • Please bring any medicines that your child is taking.
  • When you arrive at the hospital, a nurse and doctor will check that your child is well enough to have the test.
  • If the bowel is not properly cleared, your child may need another medication in the bottom (enema).
  • If not done already, the doctor will explain the test and ask you to sign a consent form.
  • An anaesthetist will put a cannula (thin plastic tube) in a vein.
  • Your child will be given an anaesthetic (medicine to make them sleep).
  • You will be asked to leave the room once they are asleep.
  • The Paediatric Gastroenterologist or Paediatric Surgeon will carry out the test.
  • Your child will wake up gradually from the anaesthetic.
  • Your child can drink, eat and pass urine.
  • If there are no problems, you and your child can go home.

At home, after the procedure 

  • Please continue to encourage your child to drink.
  • We will contact you to make arrangements to discuss the results.

Are there any risks?

The chance of any problems occurring is minimal but it is important that you are aware of them. Your child may:

  • have discomfort around the bottom
  • have some damage to the large and small bowel wall
  • pass small spots of blood in their stool up to 72 hours after the test – this is normal as biopsies have been taken
  • have an infection, especially if your child has a central line
  • have abdominal pain due to excess wind up to 48 hours after the test
  • feel dizzy or sick up to 24 hours after the test due to the anaesthetic.

Please contact your family doctor (GP) or local hospital if these symptoms carry on for longer than expected or your child

  • passes large amounts of bright red blood or clots
  • has severe abdominal pain and a swollen tummy
  • becomes generally unwell
  • refuses to eat or drink
  • is unusually sleepy or difficult to wake up.

Any questions?

  • About the booking, please call 01482 382639
  • About the test, please contact the Pre-admission Nurse on 01482 602679
  • About the admission to Acorn Ward, call 01482 602679
  • Any medical problems related to the procedure, discuss with the consultant
  • The clinic appointment after the test, please call your consultant’s secretary

Please read the information leaflet.  Share the information it contains with your partner and family (if you wish) so that they can be of help and support.  There may be information they need to know, especially if they are helping take care of your child following this examination.

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

Consent to treatment

Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats your child, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to your child. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.

The information you receive should be about your child’s condition, the alternatives available for your child, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

  • you must be able to give your consent
  • you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
  • you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person

Information about your child

We collect and use your child’s information to provide your child with care and treatment. As part of your child’s care, information about your child will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your child’s information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.

We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide your child with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your child’s doctor, or the person caring for your child.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about your child. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you need information about your child’s (or a child you care for) health and wellbeing and their care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.