How Long Does A Colonoscopy Procedure Take?


Posted By Author on April 25, 2022

Colon cancer is a serious disease, but screening for it is simple. A colonoscopy, an outpatient procedure performed by your GI specialist, is recommended for all Americans over 45 years old. Charleston GI makes quality care even more convenient, performing colonoscopies at our three local endoscopy centers.

doctor waiting room for medical service like colonoscopy

What Is A Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is used to detect abnormalities in the large intestine (colon) and rectum. During the procedure, a gastroenterology specialist will insert a long, flexible tube with a light and video camera attached into the rectum. This tool allows them to take a thorough look at the inside of your colon and rectum in real time and if necessary, to take tissue samples or remove polyps.

How Long Does A Colonoscopy Procedure Take?

Your colonoscopy will not take long at all, with the procedure itself only lasting about 30 to 60 minutes. The same amount of time is often needed to prepare patients beforehand, as well as to recover after. Our GI doctors recommend resting for the remainder of the day.

Before the Colonoscopy

It is important to follow your gastroenterologist’s instructions when preparing for your colon cancer screening. Stick to a clear liquid diet the day before the procedure and complete the bowel prep kit. Be sure to stay hydrated during this process, drinking plenty of clear liquids like water, black coffee or tea. The morning of your colonoscopy, do not eat or drink anything. Your GI doctor may also adjust your medication use, so be sure to mention every medication you take (both prescription and over-the-counter).

During the Colonoscopy

Plan to spend around two hours at the endoscopy center on the day of your procedure. The procedure itself will only take about 30 to 60 minutes, but you need to account for some preparation time before and recovery time after. Our GI specialists will keep you comfortable and relaxed throughout the entire process.

After the Colonoscopy

When you wake up from the anesthesia, you will likely feel a little groggy at first. While this will wear off quickly, we require that you designate someone to drive you home. You may experience some mild cramping or the sensation of having gas for about an hour after your colonoscopy, but this is normal. If your discomfort persists or you experience any other side effects, call Charleston GI. Patients can resume their normal diet after the procedure, but should take it easy for the remainder of the day. You are free to return to work the next day though!

Why Do You Need A Colonoscopy?

Your gastroenterologist may recommend a colonoscopy for one of the following purposes:

  • Screen for colon cancer
    Colonoscopies are a highly effective method of screening for colon cancer – and the best way to identify the disease in its early stages.
  • Investigate GI concerns
    If you are experiencing intestinal issues, such as rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, chronic constipation, etc., your GI doctor may recommend a colonoscopy to get a closer look.
  • Remove polyps
    Colonoscopies are not only used to look for polyps, but to remove any that are found during the procedure.

Who Needs A Colonoscopy? At What Age Do I Need a Colonoscopy?

The American Cancer Society now recommends colonoscopies for all adults at an average risk of colorectal cancer starting at age 45. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer or other risk factors, your GI doctor may recommend starting regular screenings earlier.

How To Prep For A Colonoscopy?

Follow your GI specialist’s instructions carefully to properly prepare for your colonoscopy. Be sure to:

  • Follow a clear liquid diet the day before your screening
  • Drink the cleansing solution / complete the bowel prep kit
  • Stay hydrated
  • Do NOT eat or drink anything the morning of your procedure
  • Inform your gastroenterologist of all your medications beforehand

Schedule Your Appointment with Charleston GI Today! No Referral Needed!

Contact Charleston GI today to schedule your colonoscopy at one of our three conveniently located endoscopy centers – in Summerville and West Ashley! Enjoy a higher standard of caring close to home.

Want to meet your GI specialist before your visit? Click here to learn more about our team of board certified gastroenterologists! 

In addition to three endoscopy centers, Charleston GI has four easy-to-access office locations in Summerville, Carnes Crossroads, Mt. Pleasant, and West Ashley. There’s no referral needed, so come see us today!

If you’re looking for a gastroenterologist near me, visit Charleston GI.