Colonoscopy Procedure FAQs


  • Will my insurance cover the procedure?

Starting at age 45, a screening colonoscopy is recommended by the American Cancer Society on a regular basis or as your GI doctor feels appropriate. You should have one earlier if you have a family history of colon cancer (parents, grandparents, sibling, child). Most, but not all, insurance plans offer screening benefits. Your referring physician and GI physician will make sure your procedure is authorized through your insurance company. However, authorization does not guarantee coverage. Because benefits vary widely from policy to policy, make sure you contact your insurance company to check to see if you have this type of coverage and to ask what your out-of-pocket obligation will be.

  • Do I have to drink the entire 4 liters of my prep solution?

It depends on the prep your physician prescribes. Remember to follow the instructions given to you. Don’t forget you have 6 feet of the colon that you need to clean out as thoroughly as possible. If you want an accurate examination, it is important that your preparation for the test is complete. If your colon is not cleaned out well, the test may have to be aborted and rescheduled for another day.

  • What if I don’t have a bowel movement after drinking the bowel prep?

If you do not have a bowel movement several hours after drinking your prep, please call our emergency on-call physician at (804) 285-8206. He will give you additional instructions.

  • What do I do if I have lots of pain or I’m having trouble with the colon prep the night before the colon? Is there someone I can call and ask questions of?

If you are experiencing a lot of pain or difficulty keeping the prep down, please call the emergency number, (804) 285-8206, and ask for the on-call physician.

  • Is there a colonoscopy diet?

No solid food is allowed the day before your procedure. However, you will be on a clear liquid diet the day before your procedure.


  • Where do I check in for outpatient radiological procedures as opposed to outpatient procedures (endoscopies and colonoscopies)?

It will depend on the facility in which your procedure is scheduled. Normally you will register for radiological procedures in the outpatient department at the hospital. Colonoscopy and Endoscopy procedures require you to register through the hospital admitting department. Our staff will give you instructions on where to report for your procedure. If you have any questions, please call the office.

  • Will I be sedated before the colonoscopy?

Scope examinations such as endoscopy and colonoscopy require sedation to prevent pain and discomfort. These medications make the test quite simple for the patient, but do not wear off immediately. Because you cannot drive your vehicle for 12 hours, it is necessary for someone to come with you to drive you home. We ask that your driver come with you and stay the entire time. You must have someone available for questions; the physician will meet with this person after the procedure to explain the results.

  • How long does the procedure take?

It depends on the procedure. A routine colonoscopy and upper endoscopy usually take 15 to 30 minutes, although it may take longer if polyp removal is involved. However, with pre-and post-procedure time, you will not ordinarily be ready for discharge until 2 to 2 ½ hours after you arrive.


  • Will I be groggy after a colonoscopy?

Yes, you may be slightly groggy for a time. We suggest you go straight home after your procedure and have something to eat. The sedation affects your blood pressure and causes some drowsiness for several hours. After about 4 hours you may go out as long as you feel well. Do not drive until the following day.

  • How long was my colonoscopy procedure?

The typical EGD is approximately 20 minutes; the typical colonoscopy is approximately 30 minutes.

  • How often will I need to come back for a colonoscopy?

If your doctor removes a polyp, the length of time before you will need another colonoscopy is dependent on the type of polyp and on the pathology results of that polyp. The physician’s a nurse/medical assistant will let you know your pathology results and inform you of the repeat date.

  • What can you eat after a colonoscopy?

You should resume your regular diet after your colonoscopy procedure but try to stay away from foods that are high in gluten, sugar, fat, or calories. Try to stay away from foods that are difficult to chew, are highly processed, or heavy in dairy, meat, or sugar.

Have any other questions about your colonoscopy procedure? View some of our other FAQs pages to find more common questions and answers or contact us today to talk to a specialist!