What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a screening test that allows the doctor to look for abnormalities inside your colon. A tiny video camera on a flexible tube called a colonscope is passed through the anus and follows the large intestine. The doctor is able to see any abnormalities and take tissue samples during the procedure using the same tool.

The procedure itself usually takes 15 to 60 minutes, although you should plan on two to three hours for waiting, preparation and recovery.

Schedule a procedure with Guthrie Endoscopy by calling: 

Colon Cancer Screening

Colonoscopy is used as a screening and prevention tool for colon cancer. Pre-cancerous growths, called polyps, can be removed during a colonoscopy preventing them from becoming cancer.

With a referral from your doctor, you can schedule the procedure by calling Guthrie gastroenterology.

Insurance Information for Colonoscopies

Under the Affordable Care Act, several preventive services such as colonoscopies are covered at no cost to the patient. Guidelines are now available about which colonoscopies are defined as a preventive service (screening). 

Guthrie has created this document to sort through some of the confusion. Here is what you need to know about colonoscopies that are considered preventative:

Colonoscopy Categories:

  • Preventive Colonoscopy Screening
    Patient is asymptomatic (no gastrointestinal symptoms either past or present); is 50 years of age or over; has no personal or family history of gastrointestinal disease, colon polyps and/or cancer. The patient has not undergone a colonoscopy within the last 10 years.
  • Diagnostic/therapeutic colonoscopy
    Patient has gastrointestinal symptoms such as change in bowel habits, diarrhea, constipation, rectal bleeding or gastrointestinal disease.
  • Surveillance/ High Risk Screening Colonoscopy
    Patient is asymptomatic (no gastrointestinal symptoms either past or present); has a personal history of gastrointestinal disease, colon polyps and/or cancer. Patients in this category may undergo colonoscopy surveillance at shortened intervals (e.g. every 2-5 years).

If a screening colonoscopy results in the biopsy or removal of a lesion or growth during the procedure, the procedure is then considered diagnostic and you may have to pay a coinsurance or copayment.   

We recommend that our patients contact their insurance carrier to verify colonoscopy coverage. Your insurance plan may not consider surveillance colonoscopies as a screening benefit. The correct coding of a procedure is driven by your medical history and the physician’s documentation. It is not appropriate to change coding to enhance insurance benefit coverage.

Who Should Get a Colonoscopy and When?

When you follow screening recommendations, your doctor is able to find cancer early, when it’s most treatable, before you have symptoms.

  • Average Risk: When you are 45 and older, it’s time for your first colonoscopy if you have no specific risk factors.
  • Higher Risk: If you have a family history of colon cancer or polyps, get screened at age 40 or 10 years before the age of the youngest case in your immediate family.

Talk to your primary doctor if you have concerns or any other personal medical history that might indicate getting a screening before age 45.

How to prep for a colonoscopy

Before the procedure, you’ll need to clean out your colon so the doctor has a clear view. Some people find the prep to be the most unpleasant part of the procedure. Using medication, your body is prompted to clean out the contents of your colon. Be sure to be close to a bathroom during the process.

Please note, there are several options for prepping the bowel for colonoscopy. Be sure to confirm which prep your provider prefers before your scheduled procedure. Your bowel must be empty so that your doctor can clearly view your colon.

What if the colonoscopy shows something abnormal?

If your doctor thinks an area needs further evaluation, he or she might pass an instrument through the colonoscope to obtain a biopsy (a sample of the colon lining) to be analyzed. Biopsies are used to identify many conditions, and your doctor might order one even if he or she doesn't suspect cancer.

If a colonoscopy is being performed to identify sites of bleeding, your doctor might control the bleeding through the colonoscope by injecting medications or by coagulation (sealing off bleeding vessels with heat treatment).

Your doctor might also find polyps during colonoscopy, and he or she will most likely remove them during the examination. These procedures don't usually cause any pain.

What happens after a colonoscopy?

Your physician will explain the results of the examination to you, although you'll probably have to wait for the results of any biopsies performed.

Someone must drive you home and stay with you. Even if you feel alert after the procedure, your judgment and reflexes could be impaired for the rest of the day. You might have some cramping or bloating because of the air introduced into the colon during the examination. This should disappear quickly when you pass gas.

You should be able to eat after the examination, but your doctor might restrict your diet and activities, especially after polypectomy.

Schedule a procedure with Guthrie Endoscopy by calling: 

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