Before going ahead with colonoscopy, there are certain questions you need to ask.
If in doubt, consider getting a second opinion.
Make sure you fully understand the procedure; don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s imperative your doctor explains the common risks and benefits, as well as those particular to your circumstances. Knowing all the relevant information is part of informed clinical consent.
Questions for your doctor
- Are there alternatives to this procedure to examine my colon and diagnose the problem?
- Is this procedure really needed now or can it wait?
- What are the likely consequences if I delay it?
- What are the likely out-of-pocket medical expenses? (Your doctor should be able to give you a breakdown of any costs you’ll incur – this is known as ‘Informed Financial Consent’) Learn about the costs
- Will there be an additional fee for an assistant? If so, what will it be?
- How should I prepare for the procedure?
- Will there be an additional fee for the anaesthetist? If so, what will it be?
- What happens during and after the procedure?
Your gastroenterologist’s skills
- How many colonoscopies do you perform each year?
- What percentage of your patients are satisfied with the results of the colonoscopies you perform?
- What is your caecal intubation rate (i.e. how often do you successfully examine the whole colon successfully)?
- Have you undergone official recertification of your colonoscopy skills?
- What is your “adenoma detection rate” (i.e. in what percentage of patients do you find precancerous polyps)? [25% would be lower end of acceptable rate]
- What’s your complication rate for this procedure (in particular, perforation rate)?
- How soon can I go back to work or travel?
- Follow-up appointments (Write down any questions or concerns you want to discuss with your gastroenterologist).
Tell your doctor if you have any haemorrhoids, skin lesions, sores, cuts, or a raised temperature, as they’ll need to be treated before the procedure.
Most medication should be taken as usual, but some may interfere with the procedure. Your doctor will let you know which medication (if any) you should stop, and when to stop taking it.
Don’t forget to mention any complementary or herbal remedies you’re taking, as these can have interactions and side effects too.
Print out this page to take to your appointment with your gastroenterologist.
Minimise your out-of-pocket costs
Ask your specialists whether they'll participate in HCF's gap arrangements.