What to Expect During Your Colonoscopy
Scheduling a colonoscopy can make you feel a little nervous or even overwhelmed—and that’s completely normal. After all, getting a colonoscopy is not quite as simple as a blood pressure screening, but the goals are the same: monitoring and protecting your good health.
So, thank you for taking this important step in caring for your health. Whether you need a colonoscopy because you have reached the recommended screening age or because you are experiencing symptoms, the preparation and procedure are the same. Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions about a colonoscopy procedure.
Why would I need a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is widely recognized as the gold standard for both detecting and treating colon cancer. This method of colon screening is unique because it can actually prevent colon cancer by removing polyps before they become cancerous. Other screenings only detect cancer.
At the age of 50 (45 for African Americans), the risk of colon cancer increases significantly for both men and women, making a colonoscopy an essential procedure for prevention. Your risk of colon cancer is reduced by 90 percent with routine colonoscopy screenings. If you have a family history of polyps or colon cancer, you will need to be screened much sooner—ten years before the age that your family member was when they received their diagnosis.
How much does a colonoscopy cost?
Most colonoscopy procedures are covered by insurance, however you may qualify for a free or reduced-price screening. Over the age of 50 (or 45 for African Americans), a colonoscopy is an essential preventive screening procedure for colon cancer. You can find out if you qualify for a free colonoscopy screening by clicking below.
Click here to find out if your are eligible for a free colonoscopy.
Texas GI Endoscopy Center also accepts cash and credit payment options, with financing available, if you do not have or choose not to use your insurance. At Texas GI, a colonoscopy costs $750—this covers the procedure and facility fees, but excludes consultations, doctor fees, anesthesia fees, pathology, and lab fees. To get a breakdown of those fees, please contact the physicians’ offices directly at 972-681-2226.
I need to schedule a colonoscopy, how soon can I make an appointment?
Most offices schedule patients for a colonoscopy approximately one month from the date they call to make an appointment. When selecting possible dates, you will need to take into account a few important factors:
- You will need to take one day off from work, as the anesthesia required for the procedure induces drowsiness.
- You will need to arrange for someone 18 years of age or older to accompany you to the procedure and pick you up after the procedure is complete. Driving is not permitted during your recovery period.
- You will need to drink lots of fluids following your procedure. Be sure to drink lots of water and even beverages that replenish electrolytes, such as Gatorade or coconut water.
- You may want to avoid heavy meals and greasy foods following your procedure. Simple, light food choices are recommended.
How do I prepare for a colonoscopy?
Preparation for your colonoscopy generally begins 24 to 48 hours before your scheduled procedure. Patients on certain medications will need to suspend use up to 72 hours before procedure. Preparation instructions vary by physician, so please contact your physician’s office to request these details.
What do I need for my appointment?
It is important to arrive at the center in advance of your scheduled procedure. Please contact your physician’s office to confirm what time you should arrive at the center on the day of your procedure. This will allow the front office time to process your paperwork and check you
in for your appointment. Please bring your photo ID, insurance card and medical reconciliation form.
Please leave all valuable belongings such as cell phones, tablets, electronic devices, jewelry, purses, and wallets with the friend or family member who is accompanying you to your procedure. These items are not allowed in the pre- and post-op rooms or the procedure room. The center cannot be held responsible for lost items.
You may also want to bring socks with you to your appointment as the procedure, pre-op, and post-op rooms are maintained at cooler temperatures.
What happens during my colonoscopy?
When it’s time for your procedure to begin, you will be moved from the pre-op area to the procedure room. You will be introduced to the medical care team for your procedure, including your physician, nurses, technical assistant, and nurse anesthetist.
Texas GI Endo uses Propofol for moderate sedation or Fentanyl and Versed for conscious sedation, as advised by your physician. Once you are effectively sedated, your physician will use a specialized instrument called a colonoscope, to view your colon. The colonoscope is inserted through the rectum and moved gently around the bends of the colon. As the colonoscope makes its way through the colon, your physician can observe the lining of your colon on a viewing screen in the room. Your physician generally makes observations all the way to the end of the large intestine and back through, checking for anything unusual. The entire procedure, in most cases, takes between 15 and 30 minutes.
What happens after my colonoscopy?
Following your procedure, a nurse will take you into the recovery area where the sedation begins to wear off. This can take 20 to 30 minutes and varies by patient. When you wake-up from the sedative state, a medical care team member will review procedure findings with you. The team member will also alert your friend or family member that you are awake and will soon be ready to go home.
In most cases, you will be able to resume normal activities the following day. If you are on any medications that were suspended due to the procedure, it is important to speak with your physician about when it is safe to resume those.
When will I get the results of my colonoscopy?
If your physician finds polyps, he or she will remove the polyp, as well as take a biopsy that will be sent to a pathologist for examination. Polyps are small growths that may be found in the lining of the colon and may be cancerous. Though commonly found to be benign, polyps are a sign of increased risk of cancer. The results of the biopsy are generally reported to your physician within a few days. Your physician’s office will contact you to set up an appointment to discuss the findings of the biopsy.
Will I have to have another colonoscopy?
If a non-cancerous or hyperplastic polyp was removed during your colonoscopy, your physician may recommend a follow-up colonoscopy in as few as three years, depending on the size and number of polyps found. If no polyps were found, your next colonoscopy will be necessary in 5 to 10 years, depending on family history or other medical factors.
More questions? Contact the Texas GI Endoscopy Center team at 972-961-7171 or visit the Texas GI appointment page to request an appointment at the center nearest you.