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How Long Does A Colonoscopy Take?

How Long Does A Colonoscopy Take?

A colonoscopy is a test to check the health of the colon (large intestine) and rectum internally using a flexible, long, and narrow tube known as a colonoscopy, which is inserted into your anus and then gradually into the rectum and colon. 

A colonoscopy test is conducted for several factors, such as regular check-ups for colon tumours and colon polyps (mushrooms like harmful tissues), to detect the problem beneath the abdominal pain and for diagnosis of bloody stools, to get rid of repetitive diarrhoea, or runny stools and familial history of colon diseases. Colon related diseases are more common in elders than in young adults so a person with the age of 45 or above should go for a routine colon check-up at least once a year. It is useful to detect tiny lesions or deformity which is less than 5mm in the size. It also evaluates and treats the conditions which are present at the end region of the gastrointestinal tract. 

Preparations for the Colonoscopy

The gastroenterologist will give you a specific diet plan, please inform your doctor if you are taking any kind of blood-thinning or diabetic medicines. At this point, the prescription of certain oral laxatives will be given to you. Be prepared for the liquid diet 1-2 days before the colonoscopy as a doctor will give you something similar. You will have to clean your colon entirely to achieve precise results, this should be done an hour before the test. Follow each and every guideline mentioned in a given paper or spoke by the doctor. Also, you can continue to take medications if that isn’t interrupting the colonoscopy test. Don’t eat or drink 4-7 hours before the test. But you should drink ample water before the procedure, to avoid dehydration. Before the procedure, you will be asked to change into the hospital gown. 

Procedure of Colonoscopy

The duration of the procedure varies from case to case but it is close to 30-45 minutes but come as early as possible and expect extra 1-2 hours for preparations and after test observation. A colonoscopy doesn’t demand overnight stay as it is a day procedure, on the basis of a person’s age and a health doctor will give an antibiotic. The technique is very less painful so there is no need to worry. An intravenous (vein injection) will be started for sedative by the anaesthetist, to ensure you are comfortable and relaxed. The patient’s oxygen level, blood pressure, pulse rates, and heartbeat will be observed through the monitor. A patient will lie on the left side or back and legs will be pulled upto your chest. Then colonoscope will be inserted gently through the anus and then to the large intestine, and it will be pushed till the end of the part of the small intestine and then it will be pulled back slowly. Sometimes suction is very helpful if there is some sort of waste material or liquid is stuck. Images will be clicked after blowing th air in the colon. If the test results aren’t appropriate additional tests will be conducted such as laser therapy. 

After Colonoscopy and Recovery

If a biopsy is combined with colonoscopy then results will take more than usual but otherwise, it doesn’t take much time. Once the result is in the gastroenterologist’s hand he/she will make you understand everything mentioned in the report. Then the nursing staff will take you to the monitoring room again everything will be examined. There should be someone along with you to drive you home. Also, avoid operating intense machinery for some days. Some cramping or pain is normal after the test but if you experience abdominal pain or bleeding, then urgently ask for medical help. Patients are allowed to eat normally and also drink more water to retain the lost water during the test. 

Side Effects of Colonoscopy

Side effects will be for a shorter period and they are:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Abdominal Bloating
  • Anaesthesia related side effects like nausea, dizziness and lightheadedness

How many polyps are normal in colonoscopy?

Polyps can range from very small to very big. Polyps sample will be taken to check whether it is cancerous or non-cancerous. If you have 1-2 polyps and that too tiny in size then it is normal, but testing is required once or twice in a year. The larger sized polyps can lead to colon cancer. 

Cost Of Colonoscopy

The cost of colonoscopy in India is around 4000-9000 Rs. but it varies from country to country on the average cost in a developed country is between $2000-$4000 and in a developing country, it is between $500-$2000. The cost depends on the extent of the procedure. The cost may be higher if polyps removal and biopsy are included which some of the extensive procedures. Some health insurance carriers will cover colonoscopy ( totally or partially) if it is in the criteria of medically essential. Coverage varies from policy to policy, some give relief of 25%, some gives 50% and some entire cost, it is better to talk to the insurance provider before your first consultation to estimate you’re out of pockets expenses. 


  • Which doctor performs colonoscopy?

A gastroenterologist ( the doctor of the digestive and gastrointestinal tract) performs the test of colonoscopy. The doctor is capable of performing any digestive test from mouth to anus. 

  • How safe is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a very safe, effective and less-invasive procedure. Most patients do not have any problems after colonoscopy. 

  • How much pain is a colonoscopy?

The procedure of colonoscopy is not painful because required sedatives, local or general anaesthesia kind of sleeping medicines are used. But after the procedure, the person suffers from some cramps and bloating. 

  • What type of anaesthesia is used during colonoscopy?

Depending upon the age and health conditions doctor gives either sedative, general or local anaesthesia. Difference between general and local anaesthesia is in the local your specific area is numbed but you can speak and listen, in the general anaesthesia, you will remain unconscious throughout the procedure.