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What happens if the gastroenterologist finds a polyp during my colonoscopy?2020-09-19T00:20:56-05:00

Polyps are common.  Studies have shown about 25-30% of people over the age of 50 have a precancerous colon polyp on their exam.  Most all polyps are removable during the colonoscopy.  We have many tools that we can put through the working channels of the colonoscope during your exam that allow us to safely remove them.  For small polyps, I use biopsy forceps that are like small scissors and allow to me to trim the polyp out.  For larger polyps I use a snare (like a loop) that goes around the base of the polyp.  Then, while cutting through the polyp, an electric current is applied that cauterizes the base to help keep it from bleeding.  Since the polyps grow in the superficial lining of the colon (mucosa) there are very few significant blood vessels so any bleeding is usually minimal and stops on its own in a minute or two.  Polyps that are too large to be safely removed are biopsied and tattooed (a dye is injected into the lining of the colon at the site of the polyp for easy identification in the future).  Then, once the biopsy results come back, we sit down and discuss the significance of the polyp and decide if we can safely just monitor it or have it removed laproscopically (surgery).  All polyps that are removed are sent to a gastroenterology trained pathologist who reviews the polyp and sends me a report as to what type of polyp it is.  That information, along with my recommendations, are then sent to you through my patient web portal and faxed to your physician as well.

After colonoscopy, will someone need to drive me home?2020-09-19T00:21:43-05:00

Yes.  We will sedate you for the exam so legally you cannot drive for 24 hours.  You will need an adult that you know (not a taxi driver) that will be present at the end of your exam to take you home.  They do not need to be present during your exam and we can call them to come pick you up when done.  This policy is in place for your safety.

Will I need to miss work to get a colonoscopy?2020-09-19T00:22:06-05:00

The day before your colonoscopy you will be put on a liquid diet around lunch.  You can go to work during this.  That evening, usually after work, you begin the bowel prep.  This will keep you busy for the night so if you work graveyard shift you will want to take that shift off to be at home.  The day of the exam we request that you take the whole day off work.  Even though you will only be at our endoscopy center for center for about 2-3 hours, you will be sedated so we don’t want you driving or making any major decisions for the rest of the day.  You well feel like going home and resting.  The next day you can return to full activity.

How is my privacy respected during a colonoscopy?2020-09-19T00:22:27-05:00

We are very professional about your privacy at all time.  We understand that the thought of a bunch of strangers seeing your naked behind can be embarrassing.  We take extra steps to keep you covered up with warm blankets right up to the time of your exam.  Once you are asleep I will expose just enough of your behind to safely pass the colonoscope and perform your exam.  The nurse and anesthesiology provider are doing their job on the opposite side of your exam table and cannot peak.  The endoscopy technician that assists me during your exam will be standing by my side but conducts things in a very professional manner as well.  We do everything we can to keep your privacy in mind.

Is a colonoscopy painful?2020-09-19T00:22:47-05:00

A colonoscopy in the hands of an experienced team should not be painful at all.  I have been though one myself.  Before the exam starts you will be given some sedating medication through your IV by an anesthesia provider and you will drift off to sleep.  You are awake enough that you are breathing on your own but sleepy enough that you are comfortable.  During the exam you should not feel anything at all.  After the exam you are gassy and bloated for awhile due to the air that is put into your colon during the colonoscopy, but that usually passes rather quickly (and sometimes loudly).  During my colonoscopy I remember laying in the colonoscopy suite talking to my partner who was going to do my exam, I remember some Willie Nelson playing in the back ground then I remember waking up in recovery.  It feels about that quick.

What are the screening guidelines for getting a colonoscopy?2020-09-19T00:23:09-05:00

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and American College of Gastroenterology both recommend the colon cancer screening guidelines should start colon cancer screening at age 50.  They also recommend continued surveillance until at least age 75 depending on other health factors.  If there are other risk factors involved like family history of colon cancer or precancerous polyps (adenoma), personal history of other types of cancer or a hereditary condition that you may have that is associated with increased colon cancer risk, then you would be screened at a younger age.  Unexplained rectal bleeding at most any age should be evaluated as well.  If you have specific questions as to when you should be screened, please contact me at my San Antonio gastroenterology clinic.

Will my insurance pay for the colonoscopy?2020-09-19T00:27:35-05:00

For the correct indication colonoscopy is covered buy most all insurance carriers.  For screening at age 50 or older, for screening sooner than age 50 in people with risk factors and for blood in the stool it is covered by most every insurance carrier.  The only way to know for sure is to have our business office run your insurance benefits, which they will do for you free of charge, and they can determine if and how well it is covered on your plan.  Don’t let your insurance companies decision on coverage or not deter you from getting screened- if a colon cancer is missed, they save the money on the colonoscopy, but you have to deal with the colon cancer.  For most all endoscopy centers, mine included, we offer private pay cash prices when your insurance doesn’t cover your exam.  Our goal is to make this cost effective for you so we can get you screened.