Your health care provider has decided that your child should have a colonoscopy, which is a test that allows the doctor to look inside the colon (also called the large intestine or bowel). This will help them to better understand and treat your child's problem. This procedure will be scheduled through your gastroenterology provider.

Medications are given to your child to keep him/her comfortable during the colonoscopy. General anesthesia will be administered by a pediatric anesthesiologist. The procedure is performed with a long flexible tube, about the width of a finger, called a colonoscope. It has a camera at the tip, which allows the doctor to view the inside of the colon on a video screen. It is put in through the rectum and into the colon. Small pieces of tissue, called biopsies, are taken through the colonoscope and sent for examination in the laboratory. These results are available in approximately one week.

You will be asked to arrive two hours before the procedure can begin. Your child will change into a hospital gown and begin the process to undergo anesthesia. You can accompany them into the room where the procedure will be performed and stay with your child until they are asleep. You will then be escorted to the waiting room until the procedure is finished. If your child has a favorite toy or blanket, you may bring it for a source of comfort. Also bring any medication your child takes.

  • Please bring your insurance card and identification
  • If you are not the biological parent, please bring appropriate court documents verifying your legal ability to sign consent for your child. The procedure will be canceled if the necessary documentation is not presented
  • We are unable to accommodate siblings, family members or friends under the age of 16 and request that other arrangements are made for them prior to your arrival to the hospital

Driving Directions

Please note that your appointment location is in the Johns Hopkins Children's Center Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center building, 4th floor, Pediatric Surgical Family Lounge, 1800 Orleans St, Baltimore, MD 21287.

Parking and Entrance

For your convenience, patient and visitor parking is located directly across the street in the Orleans Street Garage. You can access the hospital from the garage at street level, or you can take the garage elevator to level 4 via the pedestrian bridge. If you are being dropped off by a friend or family member, they may drive directly up to and enter the main entrance at 1800 Orleans St. Please stop by the concierge desk for assistance. Valet parking is also available.


The colon needs to be clear of stool; therefore, on the day before the colonoscopy, your child will take a CLEAR LIQUID DIET. They may have as much of the following as they like:

  • Water
  • Instant lemonade
  • Clear juice
  • Clear broth
  • Soda
  • Jell-O
  • Tea
  • Italian ice
  • Coffee
  • Popsicles
  • Iced tea
  • Hard candy
  • Gatorade
  • Lollipops

Do not give any of the above items that are RED in color. No solid foods, juice with pulp, milk or milk products should be given. Specific instructions will be given to you when the procedure is scheduled.

Your child should have nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before the test. Only sips of water or Pedialyte may be offered up to four hours before the procedure, then STOP!

CAUTION: Procedure could be cancelled if the child has ANYTHING BY MOUTH (including chewing gum or mints) four hours before the procedure.

Please stop giving IRON supplements FIVE DAYS prior to the procedure.

Infants under one year of age have special feeding instructions: No food, milk, formula or juices containing pulp for eight hours prior to the time you are to arrive at the hospital.

Breast milk may be given up to four hours prior to the time you are to arrive at the hospital.

Clear liquids (water, apple juice, Pedialyte) can be offered until two hours prior to the time you are to arrive at the hospital.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

After the Procedure

Immediately following the procedure, the doctor will come and speak with you about his or her observations during the test. Additional information will be obtained from the biopsy report, which will be available in about a week. You may call the office in a week to speak with the physician who requested that you child have the colonoscopy.

After the procedure your child will be taken to the Children's Recovery Room, where you are invited to stay with them. After your child is awake and has had something to drink, they will be discharged home.

At home your child may participate in quiet, supervised activities, such as reading and watching TV. It is not uncommon for children to take frequent naps after anesthesia. Your child may experience a slight sore throat after the procedure, which should pass quickly. Cold beverages or throat lozenges may be helpful. Some children experience nausea and vomiting due to the anesthesia. Do not be alarmed if you notice flecks of blood in the vomit — this is from the biopsies and will stop within 24 hours. We advise first giving clear liquids such as juice, soda or Pedialyte. If these are tolerated, resume their usual diet. Depending on how your child is feeling, he or she may resume their normal activities and return to school on the following day.