What is a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a procedure used to see inside the colon and rectum. This procedure is utilized for many purposes including; detecting inflamed tissue, ulcers, and abnormal growths. Also, the procedure is used to look for polyps and early signs of colorectal cancer, which can help your Gastroenterologist in Plano, TX diagnose unexplained changes in bowel habits, abdominal pain, anal bleeding, and weight loss. The American Cancer Society recommends that colon cancer screening begins at age 45, and follow-up screenings are done in 10-year intervals. This interval period could be shortened based on your initial colonoscopy results.
Why would I get a Colonoscopy?
The most common reasons for colonoscopy are:
- As a screening exam for colon cancer in persons age 45+
- As a screening exam for anyone with a family history of colon cancer or polyps
- A change in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation or change in stool caliber)
- Chronic abdominal pain
- Rectal bleeding
- Anemia (low blood count)
- As a follow-up exam in people with colon polyps or colon cancer
Colonoscopy Cost in Plano, TX
The cost varies based on whether it is a screening or diagnostic exam and the patient’s insurance plan. Since these factors can significantly impact the patient’s financial responsibility, I wanted to provide some insight into why some colon cancer screenings are coded differently than others.
- A screening colonoscopy is for those over the age of 45 with no symptoms (either past or present) and without a personal or family history of gastrointestinal disease, colon polyps, or cancer. Insurance will typically cover the cost of a screening exam once every 10 years beginning at age 50.
- A colonoscopy is classified as diagnostic if the patient has a past or present history of gastrointestinal symptoms or disease, polyps, or cancer.
Physicians have been fighting with insurance providers for years over these distinctions and the varying costs, but we are bound to specific coding guidelines. Other factors that can affect the cost of the procedure are facility fees, lab fees for a biopsy if needed, and anesthesia. I recommend discussing with your doctor and insurance provider these factors to make sure that you have a clear understanding of all expenses prior to the procedure.
I’m proud that our endoscopy center has one of the lowest facility fees in the Dallas area, which provides value to our patients. Offering expert healthcare while maintaining competitive pricing for our patients is important to my practice and the entire group of physicians at the Digestive Health Associates of Texas.
REMINDER: If you call a doctor’s office to schedule a colonoscopy and mention that you need the exam due to symptoms, it will be coded as a diagnostic exam. It’s important to clarify with your doctor the reason for the exam prior to calling the gastroenterologist’s office to schedule.
During the colonoscopy, Dr. Brown will pass a thin, flexible, lighted tube called a colonoscope into the anus and slowly guide it through the rectum and colon. The colonoscope contains a camera on one end which transmits a video image so that the doctor can carefully examine the inside lining of the large intestine. This procedure takes about 30 minutes during which the patient is sedated.
In preparation for a colonoscopy, the colon must be completely empty so the colon lining is completely visible. To clean the colon, your gastroenterologist will instruct you on taking a laxative pre-preparation in order to completely vacate your bowels the night before your test. In addition, you will be instructed to be on a liquid diet 24 hours prior to the procedure. It is important to read all instructions provided to you thoroughly in order to obtain the best results. If you have questions please call our office at (972) 867-0019.
Will I be able to drive home?
You must have a designated driver to take you home after the procedure because you will not be permitted to drive yourself home afterward. Prior to the procedure, you will be given a sedative which will put you asleep and keep you comfortable throughout the procedure process. Although you will wake up quickly, sedative medicines can cause temporary changes in reflexes and judgment making it unsafe to drive.
Can I take my medicines?
Most prescription and nonprescription medicines are allowed up to the day of the colonoscopy. Our office will review your medication list and tell you what medicines you may and may not continue to take.
What are the possible complications?
Colonoscopy is a safe procedure and complications are very rare but can occur. Our office and the endoscopy clinic will review these on the day of the procedure.
Most people will have colon cancer screening at some point in their life. Everyone age 45 or older is encouraged to undergo a colon screening examination, and there are many other reasons a person may receive a colonoscopy.
This is a very safe and easy procedure for the patient which provides valuable information other tests are not able to give.