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Colonoscopy

(Colon Screening)

A colonoscopy is a procedure to examine the inside of the large intestine (colon and rectum) to evaluate abnormalities or changes in bowel movements. This procedure can also be done to screen for colon cancer. The examination involves using a flexible instrument, called a colonoscope, that includes a camera to help the surgeons view the inside of the entire colon.

At A Glance: Colonoscopy

Also Known As

Colon Screening

Anesthesia

MAC

Hospital Stay

Outpatient

Typical Recovery Time

24 Hours

Surgery Code

45378

Typical Price Range

Tell Me About The Surgery

Procedure Research and Consultation

Q

How is a colonoscopy done?

A

During a colonoscopy, you will lie on your side with your knees drawn up towards your chest. A small amount of air is used to expand the colon, so the doctor can see the colon walls. You may feel mild cramping during the procedure. This can be reduced with deep breathing. The colonoscope is slowly withdrawn while the lining of your bowel is examined. A colonoscopy can be done under MAC, which stands for Monitored Anesthesia Care. This sedation method is performed by anesthesia professional who is in the room with the gastroenterologist and a nurse or technician.

Q

What issue does a colonoscopy solve?

A

A colonoscopy is used to screen for colon cancer, as well as assess many different types of conditions, including polyps, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and diverticulosis.

Q

How do I know a colonoscopy is right for me?

A

If you are experiencing any of the problems above, or are a person of average risk for colorectal cancer, the recommendation is to get your first screening test at age 45. Follow-up colonoscopies will depend on the results of your first one.

Q

How safe is a colonoscopy?

A

In general, serious complications from colonoscopy are rare. You should also know that Hancock Regional Hospital has been rated one of the safest hospitals in America by The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit health care watchdog organization; and was named the safest hospital in Indiana on the Lown Institute Hospital Index.

Q

What are possible side effects and complications of a colonoscopy?

A

While rare, some of the possible complications of this procedure may include bleeding from the site where a tissue sample (biopsy) was taken or a polyp or other abnormal tissue was removed; a tear in the colon or rectum wall; or an adverse reaction to the sedative used during the exam.

Q

What are the alternatives to a colonoscopy?

A

There are other ways to screen for colon cancer. These include stool tests, such as the fecal immunochemical test (FIT), fecal occult blood test (FOBT), and stool DNA tests. These tests allow you to collect your stool samples at home and then return them to your doctor or mail them to a lab. A virtual colonoscopy, also known as screen CT colonography, can be performed by inserting a scope into the rectum through the colon to produce images of the abdominal organs.

Q

What are the risks of not having a colonoscopy?

A

A colonoscopy is used to check for colorectal polyps or cancer. Delaying or avoiding a colonoscopy may put you at risk for undiagnosed cancer or other gastrointestinal conditions.

Q

What kind of outcome is typical for a colonoscopy?

A

A colonoscopy should allow your doctor to determine if you have any abnormal tissue in the colon that puts you at risk for cancer or other gastrointestinal conditions.

Consultation and Choosing A Surgeon or Surgical Team

Q

Do I need a referral to see a surgeon about a colonoscopy?

A

Your health insurance provider may require you to get a referral from your primary care provider to see a surgeon or gastroenterologist about a colonoscopy.

Q

What should I bring to my first appointment with a surgeon to talk about a colonoscopy?

A

You should bring insurance information, medical records, including your medical history from your primary care physician, as well as a complete list of all medications you take on a regular basis, including any over-the-counter medication.

Q

Do I have to get a second or third opinion for a colonoscopy?

A

You can always get a second or third opinion, but it isn’t required. 

Q

How should I decide which surgeon’s advice to follow?

A

You should work with the surgeon with whom you feel comfortable, whether that’s one of our surgeons or not. 

Q

Will the surgical team know my health history?

A

Your health history will be compiled and available to the team before, during, and after surgery. If you’re a Hancock Health patient, we will be able to access your records within our system. If you aren’t, we will work with your doctors to get the necessary information. 

Q

Why might I have to wait to schedule a colonoscopy?

A

In some cases, it takes time for a patient’s body to be ready for a colonoscopy. For example, if you have another medical issue, such as another surgical procedure or an illness, we might wait to perform your colonoscopy. Your health and safety are our top priorities, so we schedule surgeries when they’re best for our patients.

Q

What happens if my symptoms get worse while I wait for my colonoscopy?

A

Your surgical team will evaluate the situation and help you make a choice that’s right for you and your health. Temporary treatments might be used if your surgery is rescheduled. 

Insurance & Cost

Q

How much does a colonoscopy cost?

A

Consult the Price Transparency Tool at HancockRegionalHospital.org for an idea of how much a colonoscopy might cost.

Q

Will insurance cover my colonoscopy?

A

In most cases, insurance will cover most of the costs associated with a colonoscopy. To obtain an estimate of your possible out-of-pocket expenses, use our Price Estimator Tool.

Q

Will Medicare cover my colonoscopy?

A

Medicare parts A and B will cover the cost of a colonoscopy, but it’s important for your doctor to indicate that the surgery is medically necessary. 

Q

What are payment options like for colonoscopy at Hancock Health?

A

Hancock Health is committed to helping make great care affordable for all patients. To find out more about payment options, please visit the billing and insurance FAQ page at HancockRegionalHospital.org.

Pre-op and Day of Surgery

Q

How should I prepare for a colonoscopy?

A

As a patient, you play a critical role ahead of your colonoscopy through a process called bowel preparation. There are a few different kinds, almost all of which involve consuming a liquid. Your doctor will determine what kind is best for you based on your medical history and their particular preference. Some of these products require a prescription, while others are available over the counter. They all have the same goal: to remove everything in your colon prior to the procedure. You may experience some skin irritation around the anus due to the passage of liquid stools. You can prevent and treat this skin irritation by applying ointment to the skin around the anus before drinking the bowel preparation medication. 

Q

Why can’t I eat before surgery?

A

For your colonoscopy, it’s important that your colon is completely clear. There’s also a risk of aspiration, which means breathing foreign objects, like food or saliva, into your lungs. This can occur because the anesthetic for surgery can impair your body’s ability to stop the contents of your stomach from entering your lungs. Depending on the surgeon and the type of colonoscopy prep, the patient may take their last dose of medication anywhere from 4-8 hours before arrival to facility for the procedure. These details are specific to the patient’s need and ordering physician.

Q

What should I expect right before a colonoscopy?

A

You’ll arrive several hours before your surgery and be escorted to the preoperative waiting area.You’ll remove all of your clothing and jewelry and put on a hospital gown. (Your valuables will be placed in a secure area or may be given to a family member.) You’ll sign any necessary paperwork and a preoperative nurse will take your vital signs, review your medications, and answer any questions.You’ll meet your anesthesiologist and the members of your surgery team. An I.V. (intravenous line) will be placed in your hand or arm, so medications—including sedatives—can be administered. If you’re using a different kind of anesthesia or sedation, you’ll receive an injection.When it’s time for your surgery, you will be wheeled into the operating suite on a stretcher.

Q

Will I need someone to take me home after a colonoscopy?

A

For your safety and the safety of other motorists, you will need someone to drive you home. If you don’t have a ride, we’ll help you arrange one.

Q

Why are there so many people on my surgery team?

A

In addition to the surgeon, you have an anesthesiologist, nurses—some of them specialize in working with patients and others assist the surgeon—and support staff, who get you checked in and out, compile your records, and more. They all work together, performing their individual jobs, so the procedure is as successful as possible. 

Q

Why am I asked for my name and date of birth every time I get medicine?

A

It’s a safety precaution to make sure you’re receiving the medication that’s prescribed for you.

Q

What do I need to bring to the hospital the day of my colonoscopy?

A

Consider bringing anything you’ll need for an overnight stay, including a change of underwear, a sweatshirt, glasses or contacts, headphones, and your medications. You probably will not be there overnight, but it’s a good idea to be prepared.

Q

How long does it take the anesthesia to wear off?

A

It may take several hours for the effects of sedation with MAC to wear off. For your safety, do not drive or operate any machinery that could be dangerous until the medicine wears off.

During Surgery

Q

What will happen during a colonoscopy?

A

You’ll lie on your side with your knees drawn up towards your chest. You will feel relaxed and somewhat drowsy due to the sedation. 

Q

When will my family be informed about how I’m doing?

A

Our associates will get information from the surgical team in the operating room during your surgery and keep them updated. 

Q

How long will a colonoscopy take?

A

A colonoscopy typically lasts around 30 minutes. 

Q

How long will I be in the hospital after a colonoscopy?

A

While the length of a hospital stay depends on each patient’s individual needs, patients are typically discharged within a few hours following the procedure. 

After Surgery

Q

What can I expect right after my colonoscopy?

A

After the procedure, you will be moved to a recovery room where you will stay until you’re ready for discharge. The amount of time you are in recovery depends on whether or not you were sedated and what type of pain medication you receive.

Q

How will I know if the colonoscopy worked?

A

Your surgeon will discuss your procedure with you.

Q

When will I get to talk to my surgeon after surgery?

A

You’ll be able to talk to your surgeon immediately after your procedure, while you’re in the recovery room.

Q

How soon after a colonoscopy will I be up and moving around?

A

You will be up and moving around almost immediately after the procedure, but patients are encouraged to avoid alcohol, driving, and operating machinery for 24 hours after a colonoscopy. 

Q

Will I receive pain medication right after a colonoscopy?

A

In most cases, pain medications are never ordered after a colonoscopy.  

Q

How soon after a colonoscopy can I eat or drink?

A

Unless otherwise instructed, you may immediately return to your normal diet. 

Q

Will I need to fill any prescriptions or take medication after a colonoscopy?

A

Your doctor may prescribe medications to ease cramping, gas pains, or other discomfort associated with the procedure. 

Recovery and Follow-Up

Q

What will I need to do to prepare for my recovery from a colonoscopy?

A

Make sure you have groceries for when you arrive home from the procedure. If you live alone, you may want to arrange for a friend or family member to check in with you.

Q

How should I prepare to recover from a colonoscopy at home?

A

You may want to ask a friend or a relative to check on you and assist with everyday tasks for the first 24 hours following your surgery.

Q

If I need physical therapy or rehabilitation after a colonoscopy, how is that arranged?

A

Physical therapy and rehabilitation are not typically needed after a colonoscopy. Our associates will help you arrange the postoperative care you’ll need.

Q

Will I need any follow-up appointments or procedures after a colonoscopy?

A

Follow-up colonoscopies will depend on the results of the first one. If you have no polyps and low risk, you might be able to wait 10 years before having another one. Also, you usually will be sent a formal report by mail or electronic medical record to you and your primary care provider. 

Q

Will there be any scarring or stitches to remove after a colonoscopy?

A

There will not likely be any scarring or stitches to remove. 

Q

What do I need to have to care for any wounds or incisions?

A

If polyps were removed or a biopsy was done during your colonoscopy, you might notice light rectal bleeding for one or two days after the procedure. If you have a large amount of rectal bleeding, high or persistent fevers, or severe abdominal pain within the next two weeks, go to your local emergency room and call the doctor who performed your exam. 

Q

What should I do if I have an emergency or accident after a colonoscopy?

A

If you have an emergency following your procedure, call your surgeon’s office. If you’re in need of immediate emergency services, go to the nearest emergency room.  

Q

When will I be able to get back to work after my colonoscopy?

A

If you have a desk job, you can probably return 24 hours following your procedure. If your job requires more physical movement, it could take longer.

Meet Our Surgeons

Ma’n Abdullah, MD

P: 317-477-6360

Gastroenterology

Affordable Labs and Imaging at Gateway Hancock Health

Need preoperative blood tests or an MRI? Check out Gateway Hancock Health, where labs and imaging prices are 70% lower than you’d pay at a hospital. An MRI that might cost as much as $1,600 is just $599 at Gateway. 

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