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Colonoscopy (Picoprep)

Mater Hospital Brisbane

handsMater Hospital Brisbane is built on a foundation of clinical excellence and a commitment to safe, compassionate care, that is:

  • quality focused
  • technologically advanced
  • customised to patients’ needs and lifestyles.

Mater Hospital Brisbane provides a wide range of surgical, medical and cancer services to noninsured patients. It features a 24-hour emergency department, intensive and coronary care units, day surgery, day oncology, day respite and busy medical, cancer and surgical units. The hospital’s Division of Medicine offers specialist services in respiratory medicine, endocrinology, gastroenterology, nephrology, cardiology, infectious diseases, dermatology, rheumatology, general surgery and medicine.

Modern facilities accommodate inpatients, outpatients, and day-only patients. General surgery is complemented by recognised surgical expertise in women’s health, orthopaedics, urology, ophthalmology, vascular surgery, oral/faciomaxillary surgery, colorectal surgery, plastic surgery, ear/nose and throat surgery and dermatology.

While in hospital, patients also have access to a range of allied health practitioners (dietitians, physiotherapists, etc.), pharmacy, hairdressing, and chaplaincy services.

For more information about Mater Hospital Brisbane please telephone 07 3163 8111.

Our Mission

In the spirit of the Sisters of Mercy, Mater Health Services offers compassionate service to the sick and needy, promotes an holistic approach to health care in response to changing community needs and fosters high standards in health-related education and research.

Following the example of Christ the healer, we commit ourselves to offering these services to all without discrimination

Our Values

Mercy: the spirit of responding to one another

Dignity: the spirit of humanity, respecting the worth of each person

Care: the spirit of compassion

Commitment: the spirit of integrity

Quality: the spirit of professionalism


At Mater Health Services we understand that being in hospital can be a very stressful experience. This booklet aims to alleviate some of your concerns in keeping with our Mission to offer compassionate, quality care that promotes dignity while responding to patients’ needs. It explains briefly the events that may occur during your visit and the things to expect when you are discharged from the hospital.

It is, however, only a guideline as each person may require differing treatments.

If you have any questions about your treatment please ask your doctor or nurse.

Our pastoral care team offers a caring support network to all patients. The dedicated embers of this team will visit you during your stay and are available at your request to discuss any anxieties or problems that you may have.

What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a procedure that enables the doctor to see inside your large bowel. It allows the doctor see the surfaces of the bowel directly by using a fiberoptic tube which can provide far more detail and accuracy than an X-ray.

A colonoscopy also allows biopsies (small pieces of tissue) to be taken for examination by a Pathologist.

Sometimes this procedure also includes a Polypectomy, where a polyp—an abnormal growth of tissue growing up/out from the bowel lining—is removed. This is done by passing special forceps, wire snare or loop through the colonoscope and removing the polyp from the bowel wall by means of an electric current. Taking biopsies or removing polyps causes no discomfort.

Prior to your procedure

  • Please confirm your booking five days prior to your procedure. Phone: 07 3163 8183 (Monday to Friday between 8.30 am to 4 pm)
  • Take note of the date of your procedure
  • Take note of the time of arrival
  • It is important to note that your arrival time is not your procedure time. Your arrival time allows time for admission and appropriate preparation prior to your procedure. Once admitted, your nurse can give you an approximate time of your procedure. Please also be aware that there can be waiting times due to emergencies and unforeseen delays. You will be in the unit for approximately three to four hours.
  • Discuss with your doctor which medications you will need to stop prior to your procedure (e.g. Aspirin, iron, Diabetic medications, anti-inflammatory medications). It is important that you mention all medications you take in case special precautions are required.
  • Arrange for someone to take you home from the hospital. Please bring their contact details to hospital with you. Please note that we do not have waiting areas in the unit for relatives and friends. If you are catching a taxi please arrange someone to accompany you.

Diet preparation

The following diet must be followed, in conjunction with the bowel preparation, three days prior to your procedure.

Days 1 and 2 of your diet plan


You may have:

  • refined cereal with milk e.g. cornflakes, rice bubbles
  • eggs, pancakes
  • white toast/bread
  • tea/coffee.

Lunch and dinner

You may have:

  • any kind of meat
  • fish, cheese, egg
  • white pasta/rice/bread
  • canned or cooked vegetables
  • canned/cooked/fresh fruit without skins or seeds
  • ice-cream, custard.


  • wholemeal, grain flour, bread and cereals (muesli, oats)
  • dried fruit or nuts
  • fruit and vegetable skin and seeds, lentils or baked beans.

Day 3 of your diet plan (day before procedure)

You may only have clear fluids before and following your bowel preparation.

You may have:

  • tea/coffee (no milk)
  • clear soups
  • bonox
  • diet cordial/soft drink
  • clear juice
  • jelly (avoid red or purple drinks and jellies).

Warm fluids will help clear your bowel more quickly. You are encouraged to drink plenty of fluids during this time to prevent dehydration.

For a successful colonoscopy it is important that the bowel lining be thoroughly visualised by the doctor. The preparation is a lavage which will cleanse your bowel. Inspect the toilet bowel to determine if the bowel motion has the appearance of urine with no solid matter.

Bowel preparation

You will receive two small packets of bowel preparation.

If you are having a morning procedure please follow the directions below the day prior: If you are having an afternoon procedure please follow the directions below the day prior:
  • drink clear fluids only
  • at 2 pm dissolve the entire contents of one sachet of PICOPREP in a glass of warm water. Drink the first glass of preparation and you must follow this with plenty of clear fluids (at least 1 L) to prevent dehydration and to flush out your bowel
  • at 6 pm dissolve the entire contents of your second sachet of PICOPREP in a glass of warm water. Drink the second glass of preparation and you must follow this with plenty of clear fluids (at least 1 L) to prevent dehydration and to flush out your bowel
  • you must fast from midnight the night before your procedure (nothing to eat or drink) until you have your procedure.
  • drink clear fluids only
  • at 2 pm the day before the procedure dissolve the entire contents of one sachet of PICOPREP in a glass of warm water. Drink the mixture gradually but completely. You must follow this with plenty of clear fluids (at least 1 L) to prevent dehydration and to flush out the bowel
  • at 6 pm the day prior to the procedure. Dissolve the entire contents of the second sachet of PICOPREP to a glass of warm water. Drink the mixture gradually but completely. You must follow this with plenty of clear fluids (at least 1 L to prevent dehydration and to flush out the bowel)
  • you must fast from 7 am on the day of your procedure (nothing to eat or drink) until you have your procedure.

What to do if the following occurs during bowel preparation

Vomiting—This may occur for a number of reasons including “the thought of drinking more will make me sick” or fluid not passing from the stomach as quickly as expected.

If this occurs:

  • stop drinking for 30 minutes
  • have a hot drink and walk around.

If vomiting persists, stop the preparation and notify the staff in the morning as your drinking must be continued under supervision and your appointment may need to be rearranged.

Try your best to continue, as the procedure can only be performed if your bowel is totally cleaned. A clean bowel can only be obtained by drinking the preparation.

Fail to have a bowel motion—Each patient is different in the time involved from drinking the preparation until the diarrhoea commences. It is preferable to be at home when commencing the preparation kit. Some people take a lot longer to pass the preparation than others, however if you are not experiencing any pain and the bloating is minimal, then you are okay to continue. Once the diarrhoea has commenced, continue drinking the preparation as per instructions.

Wind pain and discomfort—Some patients experience “gripey” pain while taking the preparation. This is sometimes due to colonic spasm. Sucking on peppermint lollies or drinking peppermint tea will usually assist in settling this discomfort. You may also experience these symptoms after your procedure. It is normal to experience this discomfort for up to 48 hours.

Severe pain and vomiting—This is very unusual. In most cases you are the best judge of your health. In a situation where you become very ill, and after a reasonable period of time you fail to improve, it is wise to contact your GP for advice as you may have an underlying condition that is causing the problem.

The day of your procedure

Please bring your:

  • Medicare card
  • completed registration form
  • medications that you may need to take after your procedure (e.g diabetic medications, anti-inflammatory medications).

Please do not:

  • bring any valuables
  • wear any jewellery.

On arrival to Mater Hospital Brisbane, please report to the Day Procedure Unit Admissions Desk on Level 5.

On your admission your nurse will explain the procedure fully to you and answer any of your questions and concerns. Your procedure will take about 20 to 40 minutes.

You will be kept comfortable. To prevent discomfort during the colonoscopy you will receive intravenous sedation that will cause you to become slightly drowsy and you may have no memory of the procedure. You will still be able to respond to directions and you will able to breathe normally.

After your procedure

You will be transferred from the procedure room on a trolley to recovery, where your observations will be monitored. When the sedative effect has worn off and you are feeling more awake you will be given a light meal prior to going home.

It is not usual for your doctor to visit and discuss things with you after your procedure because you are still drowsy. Your results will be discussed with you at your follow-up appointment.

An appointment will be made prior to discharge and you will be given both a written and a verbal explanation of possible complications by the nursing staff.

Because a sedative is used for this procedure you:

  • must arrange for someone to take you home. They will need to collect you from the Day Procedure Unit, Level 5, Mater Hospital Brisbane
  • will need to have someone accompany you if you are catching a taxi home
  • are required to stay in hospital for a minimum of two hours following the procedure
  • are required, by law, not to drive a vehicle (including bikes and motor bikes), operate machinery or sign contracts/legal documents for a minimum of 24 hours.

What to expect after your colonoscopy

You may:

  • resume your normal daily routine including working the day after your procedure unless otherwise instructed
  • resume normal eating habits unless otherwise instructed
  • have a feeling of fullness in the abdomen.

For at least 24 hours after your procedure you should not:

  • drive a car, motorcycle or ride a bicycle
  • drink any alcohol
  • make any important decisions or sign important papers
  • walk home
  • use hazardous machinery including the stove
  • engage in sports or heavy lifting
  • travel alone by public transport (bus, train or plane).


Please contact either your General Practitioner (GP); the Mater Hospital Brisbane Procedure Unit on 07 3163 8496; or the Mater Hospital Brisbane Emergency Department on telephone 07 3163 8111, IMMEDIATELY if you experience any of the following after your procedure:

  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • increasing drowsiness
  • increased persistent pain unrelieved by medication
  • inability to keep fluids down
  • bleeding
  • high fever.


Staff of Mater Hospital Brisbane, Raymond Terrace, South Brisbane, Q 4101

© 2010 Mater Misericordiae Ltd. ACN 096 708 922.

Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Last modified 13/11/2015.
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