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Colonoscopy FAQs

Q: At what age should I have my first colonoscopy?
A: A screening colonoscopy is recommended for men and women beginning at age 50. A screening colonoscopy is recommended earlier than age 50 for an individual with a family history of colon cancer or polyps. 

Recent guidelines, released by the American College of Gastroenterology, call for African Americans to be screened for colon cancer, at an earlier age, starting at age 45.

Q: Will my insurance cover the cost of the procedure?
A: As with any service you are receiving, please contact your insurance company to verify if it is covered under your insurance plan.

Q: Why do I need to have someone I know drive me home?
A: The majority of our procedures are performed with conscious sedation, involving the intravenous administration of medication (usually a combination of a narcotic and a sedative). The use of these drugs alters your reflexes and perception, which make you unfit to drive. Our hospital protocol requires that a responsible individual ensures that you arrive safely at your home. Public transportation or taxi service is fine as long as you are accompanied by an adult you trust who will help you inside your house or apartment.   

Q: How long will my visit take?
A: The average length of your visit is dependent upon which procedure is performed and the length of your recovery. The visit length varies for each patient, however, it is usually between two to three hours.  

Q: Will I be awake for the procedure?
A: The majority of our procedures are performed with conscious sedation, involving the intravenous administration of medication (usually a combination of a narcotic and a sedative). This type of sedation requires that patients respond to verbal and tactile stimuli as well as maintain their airway. Our goal is to make sure you are as comfortable as possible while providing safe care.

Q: If the physician finds a polyp, or sees any abnormal tissue, will it be removed?
A: The majority of polyps are removed during your procedure. However, particularly large polyps may need to be removed surgically. In order to prevent colorectal cancer, all polyps (small or large) need to be removed. Colorectal cancer is 90% curable with early detection and removal of polyps. In addition to the removal of polyps, a biopsy will be taken of any suspicious tissue. All biopsies and polyps will be sent to pathology for evaluation.    

Q: Will I be able to eat after my procedure?
A: While there may be restrictions to the type of foods allowed, the majority of patients resume a normal diet after discharge. Depending on the result of the procedure, dietary modifications may be recommended.

Q: When will I receive my biopsy results?
A:  Your doctor’s office will contact you within 1 to 2 weeks with any findings either via phone, U.S. mail or NorthShoreConnect.  

Q: When should I have another screening colonoscopy?
A:  Your physician will base the timing of your next colonoscopy on the size, number and type of colon polyps that were removed. According to the screening guidelines of the American College of Gastroenterologists, you should undergo screening colonoscopies every 10 years if you have no personal or family history of polyps. In the absence of polyps, more frequent colonoscopy may be recommended based on a review of your family history.

Q: How are your colonoscopies processed?
A: The GI Lab follows the highest recommended guidelines for cleaning and reprocessing endoscopes. Each endoscope is meticulously pre-cleaned and then placed in an automatic endoscope reprocessor.

For More Information

For more information or to schedule an appointment for a screening colonoscopy at one of our GI Lab locations, please call 888.364.6400.