Gastroenterological Society of Australia

Recommendations from the Gastroenterological Society of Australia on colonoscopies, fecal occult blood testing, proton pump inhibitors, coeliac disease & endoscopy. The Gastroenterological Society of Australia (GESA) sets, promotes and continuously improves the standards of practice, training and research in gastroenterology and hepatology in Australia.

Do not repeat colonoscopies more often than recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) endorsed guidelines

Date reviewed: 1 October 2016

Colonoscopy, with or without polypectomy, is an invasive procedure with a small but not insignificant risk of complications, including perforation or major haemorrhage postpolypectomy, depending on size of lesion. Surveillance colonoscopies place a significant burden on endoscopy services. Consequently, surveillance colonoscopy should be targeted at those who are most likely to benefit and at the minimum frequency required to provide adequate protection against the development of cancer. Cancer Council Australia guidelines, endorsed by NHMRC, state that if one to two adenomas less than one cm in diameter are removed via a high quality colonoscopy, a follow up interval of five years is recommended. For larger adenomas, three or more adenomas or adenomas containing villous features or high grade dysplasia, which are removed via a high quality colonoscopy, the recommended follow-up period is three years.

Supporting evidence
  • Cancer Council Australia, ‘Clinical Practice Guidelines for Surveillance Colonoscopy’, December 2011.
  • Winawer SJ, Zauber AG, O’Brien MJ, et al. Randomised comparison of surveillance intervals after colonoscopic removal of newly diagnosed adenomatous polyps. N Engl J Med 1993; 328(13):901-6.
How this list was made How this list was made

The Gastroenterological Society of Australia (GESA) initially engaged its members through its regular online communications, sharing the aims of the EVOLVE initiative, as well as background information on the US and Canadian versions of Choosing Wisely. Members were provided with a copy of the five recommendations made by the American Gastroenterology Association. GESA also consulted externally, with the EVOLVE Lead Fellow addressing the GUT club and the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Group on the initiative. All members of GESA were invited to submit proposed items for the Top 5 list. The GESA Council reviewed all items before reaching consensus on the recommended final list. A review of the evidence for the shortlisted items was then undertaken and the final list and its rationales were signed off by the GESA Council in May 2016.

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