Colonoscopy FAQs

Q: Why do I need a Colonoscopy for a colon cancer screening if I have no symptoms?

A: Colon cancer rarely shows symptoms until much later in the disease. It is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., which is why screening has become so important. Learn more+

Q: When should my first colonoscopy be scheduled?

A: Patients without a family history of colon cancer are recommended to have their first screenings at age 50. African American patients should begin their colonoscopy at 45 years of age. If your family history has numerous instances of cancer, you should begin screening 10 years before the age your relatives were diagnosed.

Q: What is a colonoscopy and how long will the procedure take? 

A: A Colonoscopy is a procedure that looks inside the large colon for polyps or abnormal growths. The colonoscopy procedure takes about 30-45 minutes on average.

Q: Where will my procedure take place?

A: Most procedures are performed at our In-House Surgical Center in Johns Creek, GA. Alternatively, certain procedures need to be done in a hospital setting (outpatient or inpatient) in which case Dr. Singh, Dr. Rashbaum, Dr. Nitin Parikh, Dr. Long B. Nguyen, and providers Tammi D’Elena, PA-C; and Vanessa T. Dang, MSN, APRN; use Northside Hospital Forsyth and Emory Johns Creek Hospital.

Q: Will I be put to sleep for the procedure?

A: Most patients undergoing Endoscopy or Colonoscopy will undergo monitored anesthesia care. This means that you will be given anesthesia through an IV by Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). You will be asleep but will be breathing on your own. You will NOT be given a general anesthetic as when a patient has major surgery. Patients typically have no memory of their procedure when completed due to the effects of the medication.

Q: What medication will I be given?

A: Medicine is given in the vein through an IV port placed in the hand or arm. Medication dosage and type may vary depending on your individual needs. Generally, you will be given Propofol as it has been shown to be safe and effective for GI procedures. You may be given a narcotic or sedative at the CRNA’s discretion.

Q: Will I have pain during the procedure?

A: You will not feel any pain during the procedure when performed with monitored anesthesia care. There is usually no pain after the procedure either other than mild bloating in the first hour as gas passes out of the colon.

Q: Why do I need a driver?

A: The medicines you are given have much the same effect on the brain function as alcohol. In addition, the effects of the medicine stay in the body for several hours and will affect judgment and reaction time long after you feel the medicine is gone. In general, all the effects of your sedation will be gone by the morning after your procedure. You will have no restrictions at that time.

Q: Will I know what the doctor found? If biopsies are done, how long does it take to get results?

A: Your doctor will talk to you after your procedure. He will tell you at that time what was seen. If biopsies are taken, or polyps removed, you will know the results in 1-2 weeks. Your doctor will review the results with you during your follow-up visit.

Q: Will I remember the doctor talking to me after the procedure?

A: After your procedure, you may be alert, able to follow commands and ask questions, but you may not remember any events. Your doctor will talk with you after your exam. We encourage your escort to be with you at that time so they can hear the discussion in case you have any questions later. The day after your exam, one of our nurses will be calling to check how you are doing and can answer questions for you at that time or refer you to your physician if appropriate.

Q: What is a polyp?

A: Colon polyps are small growths that develop on the inside wall of the colon. These start very small (1-2 millimeters, the size of a small ant) and slowly grow larger. Many are shaped like a mushroom or a cauliflower. It takes years for the average Polyp to reach 1 cm in size (the size of a pea). The larger the Polyp, the higher the cancer risk. Most Polyps cause no symptoms and can be removed at the time of your Colonoscopy. You will generally feel no pain or sensation when Polyps are removed. There is a very small risk of bleeding in the colon at the Polyp removal site, which could require hospitalization or blood transfusion. Rarely Polyp site bleeding will require surgery. All Polyps that are removed are sent to the pathology lab for evaluation. Two types of Polyps can be found. Hyperplastic polyps have no risk of recurrence or malignancy (formation of cancer). Adenomatous Polyps are pre-cancerous and do tend to recur elsewhere in the colon and therefore require a follow-up exam. Your doctor cannot visually distinguish hyperplastic from adenomatous polyps, so microscopic examination is required. Learn more+

Q: When can I eat? What can I eat?

A: Unless instructed otherwise, you should wait 2 hours after the procedure to have a meal to be assured that all gas has passed out of the GI tract and you are alert enough to eat.  Unless instructed otherwise, there will be no dietary limitations after your procedure. You should drink no alcohol for 24 hours because of the sedation medicine you were given for the procedure.


Endoscopy FAQs

Q: What is an Endoscopy and how long will the procedure take?

A: An Upper Endoscopy is a procedure used to visualize the esophagus, stomach, and the beginning portion of the small intestines. The doctor can visualize and treat provide therapeutics at the same time during an Upper Endoscopy. The procedure takes only about 15-30 minutes.

Q: Will my throat be sore after an Endoscopy?

A: Your throat will feel numb for 1-2 hours. You may have mild soreness for the rest of the day, especially if you underwent dilatation. Severe throat pain or pain that persists for more then 48 hours should be reported to your doctor.

Q: What is Capsule Endoscopy?

A: Capsule Endoscopies are used to view the small intestines and are less-invasive procedures. Instead of the doctor inserting the endoscopy, you swallow a small pill that contains a light and camera. It takes over 50,000 pictures of your intestines in an 8-hour period, during which time you wear a small recorder around your waist that allows the doctor to download the pictures on his computer.

Q: Are endoscopic procedures, including Camera Endoscopies and Colonoscopies, covered by insurance?

A: Generally, yes. Both of these procedures are considered necessary diagnostic procedures and are often covered by insurance. Our office can authorize the procedure with your insurance carrier prior to the procedure.

Q: I feel a little gassy after my endoscopy, is that normal?

A: Yes. Air is introduced during an Endoscopy so the doctor can get a good view of the lining of the intestines. Your doctor makes every effort to remove the air that was introduced during the procedure so that patients generally do not wake up feeling gassy or bloated. For the few patients who do experience this, symptoms are mild and usually short lasting.


Board certified physicians Dr. Singh, Dr. Rashbaum, Dr. Nitin Parikh, Dr. Long B. Nguyen, and providers Tammi D’Elena, PA-C; and Vanessa T. Dang, MSN, APRN; care for patients in the north Atlanta, GA; area including Duluth, Norcross, Dunwoody, Lilburn, Doraville, Sugar Hill, Roswell, and Chamblee. They have four locations including Alpharetta, GA; Cumming, GA; Johns Creek, GA; and Lawrenceville, GA. The In-House Endoscopy Suite at the Johns Creek location of Digestive Care Physicians is a certified facility which has achieved the highest level of accreditation by the Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). If you suffer from gastrointestinal problems or need a colorectal cancer screening, contact us at (770) 227-2222 to schedule an appointment.