How do I get to your office?

My procedure is in the afternoon.  May I eat or drink in the morning?

I ate breakfast (lunch or dinner) the day before my colonoscopy.  Is that okay?

I don’t have a ride.  Is that okay?

How many days prior to my procedure should I discontinue my Coumadin, Plavix or other blood thinning medications?

What medications am I able to take the day before and the day of my procedure?

I am diabetic. Do I take my insulin?

I am on pain medication. Can I take it prior to my procedure?

I am having my menstrual period. Should I reschedule my colonoscopy appointment?

May I continue taking my Iron tablets?

I have been on Aspirin therapy for my heart.  Should I continue to take it?

Can the physician change, add, or delete my diagnosis so that I can be considered eligible for a preventative/screening colonoscopy?

What if my insurance tells me the physician can change, add, or delete a CPT or diagnosis code?

What is an upper endoscopy and what can I expect during the procedure?

What can I expect immediately after my upper endoscopy?

What is a colonoscopy and what can I expect during the procedure?

How do I prepare for the colonoscopy? Which prep is best for me?

What if a polyp is found?


How do I get to your office?

Please visit: www.MedStarGeorgetown.org/GIDirections for detailed directions.

 My procedure is in the afternoon.  May I eat or drink in the morning?

No. To ensure your safety during the procedure, it is important that the stomach is empty.  Any food or liquid in the stomach at the time of the procedure places you at risk of aspirating those contents into the lung leading to a serious complication called aspiration pneumonia.

I ate breakfast (lunch or dinner) the day before my colonoscopy.  Is that okay?

If the prep instructions were not followed properly, residual stool may remain in the colon and hide important findings from the examining physician.  In some cases, if the colon preparation is not good, you may have to repeat the preparation and the exam.  If you accidentally eat any solid food the day before your exam, please call 202-444-8541 and select option 4 to speak with a member of the nursing staff.  You may be asked to reschedule your procedure.

I don’t have a ride.  Is that okay?

It depends on how the catheter is being placed. You do NOT need a ride if you are having the catheter manually placed. This procedure is performed using a topical anesthetic – a medication which numbs the inside of your nose and possibly your throat. You will be able to drive yourself home after this procedure.

If you are having an upper endoscopy (also called an EGD) to place the catheter, you will be given anesthesia which will put you to sleep. In this case, you MUST have a responsible adult to accompany you home otherwise your PROCEDURE WILL BE CANCELLED!  This is a patient safety and legal liability issue and is not open for negotiation. You will be sent instructions for both the pH monitoring AND the EGD if this is how you are scheduled.

How many days prior to my procedure should I discontinue my Coumadin, Plavix or other blood thinning medications)?

The decision to stop or continue blood thinners needs to be discussed between your endoscopist and the physician that prescribes the blood thinner prior to your procedure. The prescribing physician decides if it is safe to hold the medication. You need to call us and your prescribing physician urgently if you have not discussed holding or continuing your blood thinner prior to your procedure. This does not include aspirin.

What medications am I able to take the day before and the day of my procedure?

The day prior to your procedure take your medications the way you normally would.  However, for those patients taking any type of bowel cleansing preparation, be advised that you may undergo a prolonged period of diarrhea that may flush oral medications out of your system before they have time to take effect.The morning of your procedure you should take any blood pressure or heart medications you may be on with a small sip of water.  You can hold most other medications and take them once your procedure has been completed.  If you have questions about a specific medication(s), please call a member of our clinical staff at 202-444-8541 and select option 4.

I am diabetic. Do I take my insulin?

You must direct that question to the physician who placed you on this medication.  Please check your blood sugar the morning of your procedure as you normally would.  If you have any questions about your diabetes management in conjunction with your fast for your endoscopic procedure, please consult with your primary physician.

I am on pain medication.  Can I take it prior to my procedure?

Many prescription pain medications can adversely affect the medications we use for sedation and for that reason we recommend that the day of your procedure you delay taking your pain medication until after your procedure has been completed.   If you have any questions, please call a member of our clinical staff at 202-444-8541 and select option 4.

I am having my menstrual period.  Should I reschedule my colonoscopy appointment?

No. Your menstrual period will not interfere with your physician’s ability to complete your procedure.

May I continue taking my Iron tablets?

No.  Iron can cause the formation of dark-colored stools which can make it difficult for the physician to complete your colonoscopy if your preparation is less than optimal.  We recommend you stop taking your oral iron supplements at least one week prior to your procedure.

I have been on Aspirin therapy for my heart.  Should I continue to take it? 

Aspirin may affect blood coagulation. However, we do not generally recommend stopping Aspirin prior to our endoscopic procedures.

Can the physician change, add, or delete my diagnosis so that I can be considered eligible for a preventative/screening colonoscopy?

No. Your encounter is documented as a medical record based on the health information you have provided and any information/findings obtained during your procedure. It is a binding legal document that cannot be changed to facilitate better insurance coverage.

What if my insurance tells me the physician can change, add, or delete a CPT or diagnosis code?

Your insurance may tell you that if your colonoscopy was coded as a screening, it would have been covered. However, the “screening” diagnosis can only be amended if it applies to you. Most insurance carriers only consider a patient over the age of 50 with no personal or family history and no past or present GI symptoms as “screening”. If you receive this information from your insurance, please document the date, name, and phone # of the representative and contact our billing department. We will perform an audit of the billing and investigate the information you were given to ensure proper billing.

What is an upper endoscopy and what can I expect during the procedure?

An upper endoscopy allows your doctor to examine the lining of the upper part of your gastrointestinal tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (the first portion of the small intestine). An upper endoscopy, or EGD, may also be used to help stretch your esophagus if you are having difficulty swallowing. You will be given sedation prior to the procedure to relax you and make you sleepy. You will lie on your left side as a flexible tube is inserted into your mouth which will then go into the esophagus and stomach. The procedure will not interfere with your breathing and will cause you LITTLE TO NO DISCOMFORT!

What can I expect immediately after my upper endoscopy?

Your throat maybe slightly sore and you may feel bloated. This is because of the air that was introduced to your stomach during your procedure.

What is a colonoscopy and what can I expect during the procedure?

A colonoscopy is an exam that enables your doctor to examine the lining of your colon and rectum. It is used to evaluate your entire colon for the presence of colorectal cancer or polyps and early detection can prevent surgery and save lives. During your examine, you will be given sedation prior to the procedure to relax you and make you sleepy. You will lie on your left side as a flexible tube is inserted into your anus and slowly advanced into the rectum and the colon. The procedure will cause LITTLE TO NO DISCOMFORT!

How do I prepare for the colonoscopy? Which prep is best for me?

A colonoscopy requires a cleansing preparation of the colon the day before the procedure so that the colon can be fully visualized. Generally, you will be asked to drink a liquid that causes complete emptying of the colon. You will be given a list of dietary restrictions and written instructions for your prep at checkout. Discuss with your physician what the best option is for your colon prep. There are a couple of different options for the liquid that you will drink to cleanse your colon and depending on your medical history, one may be better than the other.

What if a polyp is found?

A polyp is an abnormal growth found in the lining of the colon. They can vary in size, shape, and color and most are benign (non-cancerous). Very small polyps maybe destroyed by burning them during your procedure. Larger polyps are removed by snare polypectomy. This technique causes no pain to the patient! Polyps that are removed are sent to the pathology lab to ensure that they are not pre-cancerous or cancerous.