Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is an exam that allows a doctor to closely look at the inside of the entire colon. The doctor is looking for polyps or signs of cancer. The doctor uses a thin, flexible, hollow, lighted tube that has a tiny video camera. This tube is called a colonoscope. The colonoscope is gently eased inside the colon and sends pictures to a TV screen.

What is an endoscopy (EGD)?

An endoscopy is the examination of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum using an endoscope. An endoscope is a device consisting of a thin, long, flexible tube that includes a light and a video camera.

Who performs the procedures?

A gastroenterologist may perform an endoscopy and a colonoscopy whereas a colon rectal surgeon performs colonoscopies, as well as surgical procedures in the hospital setting.

How long does the actual colonoscopy procedure usually take?

Once you have been sedated, the average time for a colonoscopy is between 20 and 30 minutes.

How long does the actual endoscopy (EGD) procedure usually take?

Once you have been sedated, the average time for an endoscopy is between 5 and 10 minutes, depending on whether biopsies are done.

Do I have to prepare for my EGD?

If your procedure is scheduled before 12 noon, eat or drink nothing after midnight, this includes chewing gum and hard candy. If you are scheduled after 12 noon, you may drink clear liquids and take your medication up until 9 am the day of your procedure.  However, it is still recommended to follow your physician’s instructions.

How do I prepare for my colonoscopy?

If you have a colonoscopy scheduled in the morning, you will be on a clear liquid diet the day before. It is recommended that you do not drink anything red, blue, or purple. It is most common to take four laxative pills followed by a powdered laxative that you will mix in 64 ounces of a clear liquid. You will receive written instructions from your physician prior to your procedure telling you the appropriate time to start the prep as well as finish the prep. You need to finish your prep at least 2 – 3 hours prior to your scheduled procedure. It is important to avoid alcoholic beverages while prepping for your procedure.  Take nothing further by mouth after finishing the prep.

What clear liquids are recommended for use during the “prep”?

The most common clear liquid used is either orange or yellow Gatorade.  Other alternatives include water, apple juice, white cranberry juice, or any of the white cranberry juice blends. Reminder: Do not drink any liquids at least 2 hours prior to your scheduled procedure.

Why is it necessary to split the prep?

Splitting the prep allows for a better visualization of the colon for your physician.

What happens if I am unable to finish my “prep”?

If the prep has reduced your stool to mostly liquid, chances are that the procedure will be done.  However, the physician will have to evaluate the efficacy once your procedure has begun. If you have not had any bowel movements, it may be necessary to have a double prep and your procedure will be rescheduled.

Should I take my medications prior to my procedure?

Since each physician has their own protocol, it is important to follow your physician’s instructions. If necessary, contact your physician and discuss this with him. If you are diabetic or taking any blood thinners or blood pressure medication, it is advised that you contact the prescribing physician as well.

If I am a diabetic, should I take my blood sugar before I come in for my procedure?

Yes. It is important for us to have a baseline for your blood glucose.

If I have had any orthopedic replacement surgery, do I need an antibiotic prior to my colonoscopy?

Contact your specific physician because there are new guidelines regarding antibiotic therapy.

What are polyps?

Polyps are abnormal growths arising from the large intestine (colon) and protruding into the intestinal canal (lumen).  Some polyps are flat, others have a stalk. Polyps are one of the most common conditions affecting the colon and rectum, occurring in fifteen to twenty percent of the adult population.  Although most polyps are benign, the relationship of certain polyps to cancer is well established.

What happens if I have polyps?

The polyps are removed and sent to the lab for analysis. The polyps are removed by either a cold biopsy or a hot biopsy. If a hot biopsy is preformed, your physician may instruct you to refrain from aspirin and NSAIDS for a period of time. If necessary, Tylenol is permitted during this period of time. The results of your procedure determine the frequency of follow-up colonoscopies.  It usually takes 7-10 days for the results to come back.

What are NSAIDS?

An NSAID is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Common examples include Motrin, Advil, Aleve, and Ibuprofen.

How often is a colonoscopy recommended?

Your doctor decides how often you need this test, usually once every 10 years, depending on your personal risk for colon cancer. It’s important for people to talk with their doctor to understand their risk for colon cancer, the guidelines they should follow for testing, and whether they need to start being tested at age 50 or earlier.

Is a colonoscopy painful?

A colonoscopy is not painful. To prevent discomfort during the procedure, IV Conscious Sedation medications or Propofol is administered. You may experience slight cramping as a result of small amounts of air that are pumped into the colon during the procedure.  This enables the doctor to see your colon more clearly. You should be comfortable during your procedure.

What types of sedation are currently available?

There are two types of sedations commonly used. Propofol (Diprovan) is administered by a nurse anesthetist.  Fentanyl and Versed is administered by an RN under the direct supervision of the physician. If you tend to become nauseated when given narcotics, please let the nursing staff know during the admission process. Prior to the start of the procedure, medication can be given to you through the IV to prevent nausea.

What happens when I arrive at the endoscopy center?

Once you arrive, you will register with the office personnel.  At this time, you must provide your personal identification and insurance cards.  The nursing staff will then call you into the Admitting/Procedure area at the appropriate time to be admitted.  During the admission process, a nurse will obtain your medical history, provide education, and start an IV.

Where is the procedure done?

The procedures are performed in a private procedure room.

What happens when the procedure is finished?

When the procedure is completed, you will be taken back to the Admitting/Recovery area where your vital signs will be monitored. As you begin to wake up from the sedation, the nursing staff will offer you something to eat and drink. Your physician will speak with you to discuss your procedure and answer any questions that you may have. Prior to your discharge, the nursing staff will also review all of your results and your discharge instructions.  You will also be given a written copy of the results and discharge instructions.

Can I drive myself home after my colonoscopy/endoscopy?

No. It is mandatory to have a responsible person drive you home and escort you into your home. The responsible person is also required to sign that they will be driving you home. Please be sure to make arrangements for a designated driver. Your safety is our first concern.

When will I be able to eat again after my procedure?

After an EGD without dilation and/or a colonoscopy, you may resume a normal diet immediately.  However, if dilation of the esophagus is preformed, a soft diet is recommended for the next 24 hours.

Does insurance cover my colonoscopy/endoscopy?

Insurance policies differ. You should check with your own individual insurance provider to see whether or not the procedures are covered. If a deductible or co-pay is due, it is expected to be paid at the time of the procedure.