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How Long Does It Take To Get A Colonoscopy?

How Long Does It Take To Get A Colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is a procedure performed by an expert in the field to examine any abnormalities in the colon. The test requires you to spend between 30 and 60 minutes. Before carrying out the test, the doctor gives you medicines to relax the veins. These medicines also cause drowsiness. The physician will ask you to lie down to the left side of the examination table.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Colonoscopy?

The Procedure

The procedure involves the use of a flexible colonoscope, which is a tubular instrument measuring ½-inch in diameter. The colonoscope is capable of transmitting images of the colon. With the help of the images produced by the apparatus, the doctor will examine for the presence of abnormalities in the colon with ease. The colonoscope enters through the rectum, and the expert guides it through the colon until it reaches the end of the large intestine.

As the colonoscope is flexible, it is easy to maneuver through the curves of the colon. Occasionally, the doctor will ask you to change positions to assist the movement of the scope. The scope is also capable of blowing air into the colon. Blowing the air expands the colon, which allows the doctor to view the structure more clearly.

It is likely for you to feel mild cramps during the procedure. However, reducing it is possible by taking slow deep breaths. After completion of the examination, the doctor retrieves the scope carefully, and during this process, one inspects the lining of the bowel. If there is any abnormality identified, the doctor extracts a small amount of tissue to perform a biopsy. The expert also identifies polyps and any abnormal growths to remove them safely. Diagnosis performed using colonoscopy offers accurate results, which helps in giving the right treatment without the requirement for major surgery.

What Will You Do Before The Examination?

Before you take an appointment for the examination, tell your doctor about any underlying conditions that you possess. These include:

  • Lung problems
  • Heart problems
  • Pregnancy
  • Allergy to particular medicines
  • Diabetes.

The doctor asks you to consume antibiotics if you have replaced the heart valve with a mechanical valve.

Preparing for the Colonoscopy

Depending on your underlying conditions and overall, the doctor prescribes changes to your diet and fluid intake. It is natural for the doctor to ask you to skip solid food for a few days. The doctor may or may not ask you to consume laxatives by mouth. Having a clean colon is essential. Therefore, along with the dietary changes, the doctor cleanses the bowel to ensure the success of colonoscopy procedure.

The doctor will induce two enemas before the start of the procedure. Inducing enema is helpful in ensuring emptiness of the lower intestine and the rectum. It helps in clear visualization of the walls of the colon. It is necessary for you to hold the enema for five minutes before you can release the same.

Additionally, ensure that you bring a companion or a driver along so that they can drive you home after the completion of the test. As the doctor induces sedatives, which makes you feel drowsy, seeking help is essential. Make sure that you do not drive or operate any machine for at least eight hours after completion of colonoscopy.

What happens After The Test?

After completing the test, you will remain in the recovery room for about 30 minutes. Although you will be feeling the sensation of gas, you will pass through the phase slowly. Make sure to read the discharge instructions. If any doubt, contact the doctor and clear your queries.


  1. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Colonoscopy. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/colonoscopy/about/pac-20393569
  2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2021). Colonoscopy. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diagnostic-tests/colonoscopy
  3. American Cancer Society. (2021). Tests to Diagnose and Stage Colorectal Cancer. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/acs-recommendations.html

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 21, 2023

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