Frequently Asked Questions
Preparation for an Endoscopic Appointment
Why do I need to bring a driver for my endoscopic appointment? Does he or she have to stay the whole time I am there?
Endoscopic examinations such as colonoscopy and gastroscopy require sedation. The sedation is to promote comfort to the patient, but will make the patient groggy for several hours and slow reflexes for up to 12 hours. This is why you cannot drive your car or perform activities that require quick reflexes until the following morning. It is necessary for you to come with a friend or family member who can safely drive you home after your test is over. We ask that your driver come with you and stay the entire time you are at our center. This makes them available for questions and allows the doctor to meet with them in the recovery room after your test to explain the results.
During Your Endoscopic Procedure
How long will my endoscopic procedure take?
If you are scheduled for an "endoscopic procedure," plan to be in our center for about two hours. Procedures such as gastroscopy or colonoscopy require sedation to make them safe and comfortable. Even though the test itself takes about 30 minutes, you will need extra time for registration, preoperative check-in, the test itself, and postoperative recovery. Currently, our patients' average stay is about two hours.
Will my endoscopic procedure be painful?
No. With the modern anesthetic sedatives, your examination should be comfortable.
Does a colonoscopy show if I have colon cancer?
Yes. In fact, colonoscopy is considered to be the most accurate way to determine the health of your colon. This includes checking for cancer, polyps, colitis, diverticulosis, and other less common lower digestive problems.
What should I expect during my endoscopic procedure?
After your pre-operative assessment, you will be taken to a private patient room. The licensed nurse will place on you equipment that monitors your heartbeat and blood pressure and gives you oxygen. After you have spoken with the physician, you will then be asked to roll onto your left side. The doctor will then administer the sedative into your intravenous line. The rest of the procedure is done while you are in a state called "conscious sedation." This is a pleasant semiconscious state in which you should be comfortable and be unaware of the actual procedure itself. The majority of patients sleep through the entire procedure.
I'm afraid that I will say things that I shouldn't while sedated.
This is a normal and common fear. Most individuals are afraid of losing control, giving away their secrets, or saying something embarrassing while they are asleep. While in a state of conscious sedation, it is very unusual for patients to speak.
If the doctor finds a polyp during my procedure, will he remove it?
In most cases, yes. All of our doctors are trained in the latest endoscopic techniques. Most polyps can be removed at the time of procedure.
After Your Procedure
How will I feel after my procedure?
After your procedure, you will probably have a slightly dry mouth and feel drowsy, gassy and hungry. The dry mouth and drowsiness are from the sedation. They will gradually wear off. The gassiness is from the puffs of air that are put into the digestive tract during the endoscopic procedure. This helps your doctor see inside your stomach or colon. Most of the air is removed before the procedure ends, but some of it just has to pass naturally.
Why can't I drive myself home after my test?
The sedation medication remains in your system for many hours. Your reflexes are slowed by the sedation, just as they would be if you drove with alcohol in your system. We suggest that you do not drive or perform activities that require quick reflexes for the remainder of the day. That is why you need a friend or family member to accompany you home.
Can I stop at a restaurant after my test?
We suggest that you go home, have a light meal and take a nap for several hours. You may still be drowsy from the sedation for several hours after the procedure. After about four hours, you may go out as long as you feel well and do not drive.
How soon will I be able to eat after my test?
As soon as you wake up our nurse will offer you some juice. After you go home, you can have a light breakfast or lunch. Eat whatever you feel like. Just go slow at first and use some common sense.
How soon can I return to work after my test?
Most patients are able to return to work the following morning.
How long do I have to wait for the results of my procedure?
The results of the endoscopic procedure are immediate. Your doctor will discuss the results of the procedure with you and your family or friend after you wake. We also give you a written explanation of what was found and what treatment, if any, is anticipated. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions, but your memory may be impaired by the sedation. Any biopsies or samples taken for lab analysis will not be available that day. The physician's office will contact you as soon as we obtain the results.
Our Infection Control Practices
All our instruments are extensively processed after each use by specially trained personnel. Techniques known to kill disease-causing bacteria and viruses, including the AIDS virus, are employed in this process. Community Digestive Center abides by strict guidelines for the processing of all instruments used during the exam. These guidelines are determined by American Practitioners of Infection Control (APIC), Society for Gastrointestinal Nurses and Associates (SGNA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC).