What is a colon cancer screening?

“Screening” is a term used to describe a test for the early diagnosis of common cancers, ordered before symptoms develop. For patients with no family history of colon cancer, the American Cancer Society’s current recommendation is to have your first colonoscopy at age 45. However, insurance coverage may not be available until age 50. Be sure to check with your insurance company in advance.

Why is a colonoscopy so important?

A colonoscopy lets your doctor see the lining of your large intestine (rectum and colon). Using a thin flexible tube (endoscope), your doctor can look inside your colon for problems such as swelling, tumors or growths (polyps). If your doctor thinks an area of the lining needs to be looked at more closely, he will take a small piece of tissue (biopsy) and send it to the lab to be examined. If the doctor finds polyps on the lining of the colon, they may be removed. Polyps vary in size from a tiny dot to several inches. Most polyps are non-cancerous but the doctor cannot tell a non-cancerous polyp from a cancerous one by its appearance. For this reason, if the doctor removes a polyp, it is sent to the lab for further tests. Removal of polyps is important in preventing colon cancer.

How long does a colonoscopy take?

Most colonoscopies take 30 minutes to an hour. You will be asked to arrive 1 hour prior to your procedure, so your total time will be around 1.5 to 2 hours.

Will I need to miss work?

Yes. Because the procedure will be done with anesthesia or sedation, you will not be fit to return to work until the following day.

Will it hurt?

No, a colonoscopy is not painful at all. Patients are sedated with anesthesia, so they won’t feel a thing!

Will I be in a private room?

Colonoscopies performed at our Center are always done in a private room with no other patients around. Our physicians and nurses are professional and remain dedicated to respecting our patients’ privacy.

If coffee considered a clear liquid?

Yes. Coffee and tea with sugar, but no creamer or anything to cloud them, are considered clear liquids. Water, soda, non-pulpy juice, jello, clear soup (broth, consommé, etc) and popsicles are also clear liquids. Milk or cream are NOT.

Will I need someone to drive me home?

Yes. Due to the type of anesthesia or sedation that is given during your procedure, our endoscopy centers require that you bring a responsible adult to stay during your procedure and drive you home afterwards. Please note: Regulatory agencies require our facilities to discharge all patients with a responsible adult driver. If you do not have a responsible adult driver with you, your procedure will be canceled.

Where are procedures performed?

Currently, our physicians perform procedures at our endoscopy centers, conveniently located to minimize hassle.

Procedures are also performed at the Roper Hospital facility.

Can I take my medication the day of my colonoscopy?

If you are taking medications for heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety or seizure disorders, you will typically be advised to take these the day of your procedure unless otherwise instructed by your physician. If you are taking blood thinners or medication for diabetes, make sure your physician is aware for further medication instruction. Once your procedure is completed, you will receive instructions for resuming medications and diet at discharge.

Who performs the colonoscopy?

One of our Charleston GI physicians.

What if my physician finds something during my colonoscopy?

If a polyp is found, your physician will most likely remove it because it could eventually become cancerous. If your physician sees a tumor, or anything else abnormal, a biopsy is often performed. For the biopsy, a special instrument is used to take out a small piece of tissue through the endoscope. It is then sent to a lab to be checked for cancerous or precancerous cells and/or other abnormalities.

Can I return to normal activities and go back to work the day after my colonoscopy?

Yes, in most cases you can resume normal activities the following day.

Will my insurance cover screening colonoscopies?

Some insurance companies pay for screening colonoscopies, but every insurance plan carries different benefits depending on the employer. We will not be able to tell you if your particular plan covers this benefit until we obtain your insurance information. We suggest you contact your specific insurance carrier before scheduling your procedure. Our billing office is also available at 843-793-5182 to answer questions.

Do I need to contact the insurance company before the procedure?

Yes. Although our Patient Accounting Department will contact your insurance company for precertification requirements and coverage information, we do recommend that you verify your coverage to ensure that your insurance company has your current information on file.

Why am I getting two bills for my colonoscopy?

Charleston Gastroenterology Specialists and our endoscopy centers function as two separate entities – and therefore, bill separately. Just think of Charleston Gastroenterology as the professional part and Charleston Endoscopy as the facility part. When you have a procedure, you will get a bill for the professional fee as well as a bill for the facility fee. If you have any further questions, please contact our Patient Accounting Department at 843-722-8000.

What is Open Access Colonoscopy?

Open Access Colonoscopy is a program designed to allow well patients without gastrointestinal symptoms to have a colonoscopy without the inconvenience of a preliminary office visit.

How do I enroll in the Open Access Colonoscopy Program?

If you feel that you would be a good candidate for this program, you may contact our office at 843-722-8000. Please leave your name, telephone number and a convenient time for our Open Access Representative to contact you.

Can I take my medication the day of the EGD (upper GI endoscopy)?

If you are taking medications for heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety or seizure disorders, you will typically be advised to take these the day of your procedure unless otherwise instructed by your physician. Once your procedure is completed, you will receive additional instructions at discharge involving medications and diet. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about post-procedure care!

How long will it take to get my prescription refill?

Please allow 24 to 48 hours for prescription refills.

Get In Contact

If your question is not answered above, feel free to reach out. We’re happy to help!

Find a Specialist

Our team includes 12 incredible board-certified physicians.