Colonoscopy is a procedure in which a small camera is inserted through the anus to view the large intestine (rectum). Colonoscopy is an important part of cancer screening as it can help detect colon cancer early in the development stage. It can also help detect other diseases, including inflammation and polyps.
Medicare and most health insurance plans cover colonoscopy as preventive care. However, some health plans may charge a co-pay or deductible for the procedure. If you are under insured, you may want to check with your community health programs to see if you qualify for assistance. Otherwise, you’ll need to find out what your plan covers for colonoscopy procedures.
Colonoscopy benefits include the prevention of colonorectal surgery. It is a safe and non-invasive procedure that takes between thirty and sixty minutes. You’ll be anesthetized and under close observation. The procedure will also result in some gas, which is completely normal. You’ll need to take at least three to four hours off of your schedule. Afterward, you’ll need to recover quickly.
Before undergoing the procedure, you’ll need to eat a low-fiber diet to avoid obstructions that might be present in the colon. You should start eating low-fiber foods at least three to four days before the procedure. The diet should consist of white bread, seedless fruits, and low-fiber vegetables. You’ll also need a designated driver to drive you home. You’ll need to avoid drinking alcohol and operating machinery the night before the procedure.
Most people should have a colonoscopy every 10 years. If you have certain risk factors, your doctor may recommend an earlier screening. In addition, you can also opt for virtual colonoscopies, which can be performed every five years. While these procedures are safe and effective, there is still a small risk of injury. A few people may experience a slight amount of radiation from air inflation during the procedure.
Virtual colonoscopy is a safe, non-invasive alternative to conventional colonoscopy. The procedure uses a computerized image of the colon to search for polyps. You do not need to be sedated and don’t need to be hospitalized. You can resume normal activities immediately after the procedure.
The CT colonography has low sensitivity for detection of CRC. Consequently, screening colonoscopy is recommended every 10 to 15 years for CRC screening. In addition, screening colonoscopy can help confirm stool-based tests that may be positive or negative. However, the results from these tests may be misleading.
Despite these risks, screening colonoscopy is highly recommended for older adults. According to the American Cancer Society, screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) is 90% effective if detected early. However, there is limited data on long-term benefits of colonoscopy for higher risk patients.
A recent study concluded that if CT colonography was used instead of a flexible sigmoidoscopy, the risk of CRC was reduced by 7%. However, there were no significant reductions in all-cause mortality. Moreover, patients with comorbid conditions were less likely to benefit from screening.