Colonoscopy FAQ’s


What do I have to do prepare for a colonoscopy?

Advise to follow handout closely and call clinic for questions.

My pharmacist mentioned another prep I could take. What should I do?

You should take the preparation that we have recommended. If you have any medical reasons why you should not take the preparation, you should inform us and we will direct you to an appropriate alternative.

How do I know if the preparation is working?

You will have loose bowel movements with the preparation. Occasionally, some patients have very little results with the first package, but usually, the second package effectively cleans out the bowel. The key principle is to ensure that you drink 1 glass of clear liquid every hour during the preparation period. In particular, we encourage you to use clear sports drinks like Gatorade or powerade. Diabetic patients may prefer to use G2 which has less calories.

Can I continue with my regular medication schedule?

Your endoscopist will inform you as to when you resume your regular medication schedule.

Can I drink alcohol the day before the test? Can I smoke?

We would recommend that you try to avoid drinking or smoking if possible.


What happens during a colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is a procedure that allows the physician to look directly at the lining of your large bowel (colon) and remove growths (polyps) and take samples (biopsy) any abnormalities detected. Colonoscopy usually requires light sedation and the procedure usually causes little or no pain apart from cramping.

Colonoscopy involves inserting a flexible tube (scope) into the rectum and examining the lining of the colon. On the end of the scope is a tiny camera which projects images on to monitors, enabling physicians to see the inside of the colon. As physicians guide the flexible tube though the colon, they are able to detect polyps and remove them with devices passed through the scope. Sedation is usually given to keep you comfortable. After the procedure, you will be recovered in a comfortable recovery room with appropriate monitoring of your vital signs.

Will I experience pain during a colonoscopy?

You may experience a cramping sensation during and shortly after the procedure. Every effort is made to ensure that you do not feel severe pain. This is done by giving you sedation and strong analgesics during the procedure.

How long does it take for a colonoscopy to be performed?

A colonoscopy usually takes 15-30 minutes to complete. Some procedures take longer particularly if the bowel is torturous (twisty) or if the bowel is not completely cleaned out. After the procedure, it usually takes about 30-45 minutes if you received sedation to recover adequately enough to leave the facility with adult accompaniment.

What are the benefits of having a colonoscopy performed?

A colonoscopy allows the physician to detect problems in the bowel including cancers, pre-cancerous lesions (polyps), inflammation and diverticulosis. It is the most accurate method of examining the bowel and detecting cancer. The additional benefit is that in almost all cases, if any abnormality is found it can be either removed or biopsy performed at the time of the procedure eliminating the need for an additional test. Recent studies indicate that removal of polyps will reduce the development of cancer in up to 90% of cases.

What are the risks of having a colonoscopy performed?

A screening colonoscopy is very safe. The Endoscopist who will be performing the tests is experienced and has special training in doing these procedures. However, as with any test, there are rare risks involved:
Pain: This can occur during and after the procedure. This is caused by stretching of the bowel and inflation of air during the procedure. This usually lasts only a brief time.

Perforation (puncture of the bowel): There is a risk approximately 1 in 5000 for colonoscopy screening but increases to 1 in 1000 if polyps are removed. If this occurs, an operation will be necessary involving a stay in hospital for several days.

Hemorrhage (bleeding): Bleeding occasionally occurs (1 in 5000) if polyps are removed or if biopsies are taken. If the bleeding cannot be controlled, a blood transfusion may be necessary, and occasionally, surgery may be needed. * Cardiac arrest and death: This is extremely rare (less than 1 in 100,000.) Staff at the clinic are trained to manage this very rare problem.

Drug reaction: Occasionally patients may have adverse reactions to the drugs administered during the procedure. To reduce this risk, you must let the doctor and nurse know of any allergies you may have to medications.

Who performs the procedure?

Only surgeons or gastroenterologists who have received formal training in this procedure are allowed to perform endoscopy at GTA Endoscopy Services Inc. Our physicians all hold staff privileges at hospitals where they perform the same procedures on a regular basis. We monitor regularly quality indicators such as rate of completion of the procedure, rates of detection for polyps and perforation rates for all Endoscopists.

The sedation for the procedure is administered by anesthesiologists who have had formal training and hold staff privileges at hospitals where they perform the same services.

Is it safe to have a colonoscopy performed in an out of hospital facility?

Colonoscopy and gastroscopy are both very safe, routine procedures. With appropriately selected patients, the risk is no different from having the procedure performed in a hospital setting. Patients who have serious medical issues are assessed and have their procedures performed in the hospital. During the procedure and in the recovery process, your blood pressure and oxygen levels are continuously monitored and highly trained professionals are supervising the procedure at all times.


What kind of sedation do you provide?

We provide what is known as neuroleptic sedation which involves using a benzodiazepine (similar to valium) and a strong painkiller (narcotic analgesic).

What does the sedation do?

The sedation will allow you to be relaxed during the procedure. Occasionally, some people fall asleep but this is not a general anesthetic. Most people do not remember what went on during the procedure because of the type of sedation used.

What are the alternatives to the sedation?

You may do the test without sedation if you choose. However, remember that a colonoscope is approximately 5 feet long and you will have cramps during the procedure.

What are the side effects of the sedation? How long does it last?

You may feel drowsy after the procedure but this usually wears off about 15-30 minutes. You may also have minor redness at the site of the IV insertion. A few patients have nausea which occasionally requires gravol.

Who administers the sedation?

The sedation for the procedure is administered by anesthesiologists who have had formal training and hold staff privileges at hospitals where they perform the same services.


How long does it take me to recover following a colonoscopy?

The recovery time is about 20-45 minutes depending on how quickly your body gets rid of the sedatives. You will be monitored until you are fully alert and are able to tolerate something to drink. Most people feel perfectly fine by the time they leave, however, however you may remain a bit drowsy for the next 4-6 hours. By the next morning, you will be feeling well enough to resume all of your normal activities at home or at work.

When can I eat and drink following my procedure?

You will usually get a small snack and a drink when you have recovered from the sedation. When you go home, you can resume your regular diet unless otherwise informed by your endoscopist.

When can I resume my regular medication schedule?

Most my medications can be resumed the following day. However, if you are on blood thinners, you may be asked to delay restarting them if you had a biopsy or removal of a lesion.

When can I drink alcohol following my procedure?

You can drink alcohol the next day.

When can I return to work?

You can go back to work the next day and perform your normal activities.

When can I resume driving?

You can resume driving the next day.

What should I do if I am not feeling well after my procedure and I have gone home?

If you have the following symptoms: fever or chills, severe abdominal pain lasting more than 30-60 minutes (mild cramps are common for the first 6-12 hours after), nausea or vomiting, bleeding or black stools, any unusual pain/problem or pain or redness a the site where the intraveneous needle was placed, , you should go to any hospital emergency room but preferably to Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital as most of our endoscopists and anesthesiologists are on active staff there.

When do I find out my results? Are my results communicated to my family doctor?

After the procedure, you will be given a sheet that describes the findings and the endoscopist will discuss these with you. If a biopsy or polyps were taken during the procedure, you will usually receive the pathology reports in three weeks. You will be advised to make an appointment to come back for the results. The results are also sent to your family doctor

If my test does not reveal any abnormalities, when should I return for another procedure?

You will be told by the endoscopist when it is appropriate for a follow-up procedure. High risk individuals such as those with family histories or in whom polyps were removed may be asked to return earlier than routine screening patients.


What is your cancellation policy?

Please review our cancellation policy here.


How is the equipment cleaned?

The equipment is cleaned by certified sterile processing technicians. The equipment is cleaned in a two stage process involving manual cleaning followed by an automated process that performs high level disinfection of the endoscopes. Endoscopes cannot be sterilized because of the material they are made from. However, the high level disinfection ensures that the equipment will not cause you to get an infection.

What happens if I am sick on the day of my procedure?

If you have a fever or flu-like symptoms, you should call the clinic or your family doctor to determine whether or not it is safe for you to have your procedure performed. Rarely, some patients have vomiting and are unable to take the preparation. If this is the case, please call the clinic during working hours to inform us and we will advise you on the appropriate steps to take.

What happens if I have my period around the time of my procedure?

This does not prevent us from being able to perform a proper examination and should not be a reason to cancel your procedure.

Why do I need to have adult accompaniment for my transportation following my procedure?

During the procedure, you receive sedatives which render you legally intoxicated for up to 8 hours. You are therefore not permitted to drive during that time and you must have an adult accompany you home. This is also why you should not go to work until the next day.

When should I arrive for my procedure?

You should arrive 30 minutes prior to your procedure time.

How much does parking cost?

Parking is free for the first hour and costs $1.50 for each additional half hour. We recommend that you have your ride check you in at the clinic and come back later on to pick you up. We will obtain a contact number for your ride and call them when you have recovered or if there is any need to contact them before.

Does my ride have to wait with me during the procedure?

Your ride does not need to wait with you during the procedure, however, your ride must leave a contact number where they can be reached.

How long should I expect to be at the clinic for a colonoscopy?

You should expect to be at the clinic for about two hours from the time of your arrival. Occasionally there may be delays because of other patients being treated but we make every attempt to minimize this.

What happens if I have a latex allergy?

You will be asked to identify any allergies that you may have. If you do have a latex allergy, we can safely perform your procedure as we are a latex-free facility.

Can I request a female endoscopist and nursing team?

Yes, you can request a female endoscopist and nursing team. However, we cannot guarantee that you will have a female anesthesiologist for the procedure.

What happens if I can’t find an adult to accompany me home after my procedure?

For your safety, we cannot perform your procedure. We will be happy to arrange the earliest possible time to have it done when you can arrange for an adult to accompany me. Please note that if the adult accompaniment cannot drive, you can take a taxi home with your adult accompaniment.

What if I don’t have OHIP coverage?

You will be advised of the cost of the procedure which is based on OMA rates and you may have additional costs for processing of pathology specimens.