What are the risks of colonoscopy?

The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme helpline is 0800 707 6060

A colonoscopy is the most effective way to diagnose bowel cancer and for most people it is a straightforward procedure. However, as with most medical procedures, there is the possibility of complications. These can include heavy bleeding (about a one in 150 chance) which will need further investigation or medical advice. There is approximately a one in 1,500 chance that the colonoscope could cause a hole (perforation) in the wall of the bowel. In extremely rare cases , colonoscopy may result in death. Current evidence suggests that this may only happen in around one in 10,000 cases.