Can I have my procedure if I am ill?
A cough or cold will not be a problem for your endoscopy procedure.
If you feel however that you are too unwell to attend your procedure (i.e. fever), please give us a call as soon as possible to rebook.
When should I arrive at reception?
Please can you arrive at the time stated on your letter – this is your arrival time not the time of your procedure.
You are welcome to arrive five minutes before but we advise you not to get to reception too early as you may be waiting a long time until you are seen.
How do I get here and can I claim for my travel expenses?
We do not reimburse travel expenses except if we have had to cancel your procedure on the day or at very short notice. For more information, see our pages on help with travel and travelling to our hospitals.
What should I wear?
A gown, socks and dignity shorts will be given. You may wish to bring a dressing gown and slippers as you may be waiting a while and it may be cold in the department.
What happens when I arrive on the day of my procedure?
You will be seen by one of our nurses, they will discuss your procedure and any potential risks and ask you to complete the consent form. You will then be given a gown to get changed into.
At St Thomas' Hospital, you will then be taken through to the waiting area called 'subwait' where you will wait before you are called in for your procedure.
At Guy’s Hospital, you will be in day surgery.
How long will I have to wait in reception? What can I bring with me?
At St Thomas' Hospital you have a view of the Thames at the reception, where you can find a TV and magazines.
At Guy's Hospital, we have TV and magazines. If you would like to bring a book, reading material or a tablet to watch a movie, you are most welcome.
Note that we do not take responsibility for your valuables. At St Thomas’ Hospital you will carry your belongings around, whilst at Guy’s Hospital your bag will be put in a locker.
At Guy's Hospital our reception area is shared by day surgery unit so can be busy with patients awaiting non-endoscopy procedures.
Please note you may not be called in the order you arrive at reception.
Will there be toilets to use in the endoscopy unit?
Both St Thomas' Hospital and Guy's Hospital have toilets for patient use.
How long does the procedure take?
Flexible sigmoidoscopy takes about 10 minutes. This might be longer according to the need of sedation, reason why the procedure is being done and findings of the procedure.
Who will be doing my procedure?
Please note that it may not be the referring clinician who does your endoscopy procedure.
Your referral will be reviewed by our clinical team and booked onto an appropriate list.
The endoscopists carrying out your procedure will have been clinically assessed as competent to conduct the procedure.
Your procedure will be completed by a consultant, registrar or nurse endoscopist.
Does the procedure hurt?
These procedures are not usually painful and we all aim to make you as comfortable as possible.
Patients can experience some cramping pain and discomfort but the endoscopist and nurses in the room will reassure you and are prepared to deal with this.
What pain relief options are there?
You may wish to use Entonox® gas, a 50-50 mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide, also known as 'gas and air'.
We may give you sedation, which will make you feel sleepy and drowsy. Note that this is different from general anaesthesia, commonly used in surgery.
For further information, please read our leaflet, Using Entonox® during your procedure in the endoscopy unit (PDF 95Kb).
Do I need an escort? When can my escort pick me up from hospital?
Yes, if you are having sedation or general anaesthetic you will need someone to pick you up after your procedure.
You also need someone to stay with you at home for the next 24 hours.
Due to the sedation, after the procedure, you will stay in recovery. Once it is safe to discharge you home, the nurse will call your escort.
As we appreciate that your procedure and recovery might take some time, you are welcome to call your escort once in recovery to let them know that the procedure is finished.
Discharge usually happens an hour afterwards, if no complications are present.