Colonoscopy FAQ's

Click on the question to view the answer:

I am scheduled for a procedure at Centennial and no one called me with the time. What should I do?

If it is after the office has closed, you can call our answering service at 856-547-1212. They will have a copy of the procedure schedule for the next day. Alternatively, you can call Centennial Surgical Center at 856-874-1866 - and at the prompt hit "0". You can then leave a message with your name and phone number. You will get a call back from the center at 6:30 AM the next morning with the exact time. Of course - we try to reach all patients the day before to try to prevent this from ever becoming an issue.

I think I may be pregnant. Can I still have the procedure?

You cannot have your procedure if you are pregnant, unless you have already discussed this with your doctor. All female patients who are pre-menopausal have a urine pregnancy done at the surgical center (so don't go the bathroom in the waiting room!).

I am having my period. Do I need to reschedule?

This will not interfere with your procedure at all, nor will wearing a pad or using a tampon.

I forget to stop my aspirin, plavix, or other blood thinner. What now?

All blood thinners should be stopped 5 days prior to your procedures, EXCEPT IN PATIENTS WITH HEART DISEASE, ESPECIALLY STENTS. Patients with stents MUST discuss this in advance with your gastroenterologist and/or your cardiologist prior to your procedure. If you can't or forget to stop your blood thinners, YOU MUST let the doctor know prior to being sedated. If your procedure is not for several days, call the office and discuss rescheduling. If you have already taken your prep, we may be able to proceed with added caution and you should still keep your appointment.

My cardiologist or medical doctor told me not to stop my blood thinners. Should I?

DO NOT STOP YOUR BLOOD THINNERS without first discussing this with one of our doctors. Ideally this discussion should take place prior to your procedure. Call the office to discuss it prior to your procedure. Many times we are able to temporarily stop your blood thinners for several days prior to the procedure. The exception to this is heart patients with drug coated stents placed within a year. If in doubt, continue your blood thinners until you speak to us.

Do I need antibiotics prior to my procedure?

The list of medical conditions that require antibiotics prior to the procedure is actually quite short. If you do need them and don't have them at home to be taken orally prior to the procedure, we can give them intravenously just prior to your procedure. You will have the opportunity to discuss this with us prior to the procedure if we didn't discuss it in the office with you. If you have questions about this, be sure to ask your doctor when you see them before your procedure.

Should I take my medications in the morning prior to my procedure?

You should take your blood pressure and heart medications in the morning with as little water as possible unless you have been told specifically not to. The exception is blood thinners (see questions 4 and 5). Most medicines can be held and taken after the procedure.

What about my diabetes medications?

Typically, we tell patients not to take their oral meds on the morning of your procedure. Your sugar is usually checked both before and after the procedure. Insulin is usually not given or given at a lower dose prior to the procedure. If unsure, try to discuss this with us in advance of your procedure.

Can I brush my teeth prior to the procedure?


Can I chew gum or suck on candy the morning of the procedure?

No, these can stimulate your stomach to produce fluid and increase the risk of the anesthesia.

Can I smoke the morning of my procedure?

No, this can stimulate your stomach to produce fluid and increase the risk of anesthesia. And what kind of doctor would I be if told you it was okay to smoke?

Can I wear my dentures?

Yes, but you will be asked to remove them prior to the procedure.

Can I wear my jewelry?

You should probably leave your valuables at home or with a family member. You must remove all metal jewelry prior to the procedure. This includes piercings. If piercings are left in place during the procedure, a burn injury could occur when cautery is used. So all piercings must be removed prior to the procedure. Yes, ALL piercings.

Can I have a taxi take me home?

No, unless you also have a family member with you. You need to be accompanied by a responsible person on your trip home.

Can I drive home after the procedure?

If you receive any sedation at all, you are not permitted to drive after the procedure.

How long does the procedure take?

An upper endoscopy takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes and a colonoscopy 20 to 40 minutes. You will be arriving approximately 45 minutes prior to your procedure and leaving about an hour after. Most patients are at the center 2 and a half to 3 hours.

Does my family have to wait for me?

No, they can leave and be called when you are approaching the time of discharge.

Will I see my doctor before I am sedated?


Will I see my doctor after the procedure?

Yes, normally we go over the results with you and your family (if you desire) you may often be advised to follow up in the office to go over other information such as biopsy results.

If you find polyps, will you take them off the day of the procedure?

The vast majority of polyps can be removed during the colonoscopy. Some polyps, because of their size or their location, cannot be removed during the procedure. These polyps need to be removed surgically.

Will the polyps be tested for cancer after being removed?

All tissue removed from your body will be sent to the lab for analysis.

Will I mess the bed during the procedure?

Typically, no. Any excessive fluids in your colon will be suctioned during the procedure; there is little to no leakage as a result. Also, since several different drapes are used during the procedure, the bed itself remains clean so that, when you wake up, you are in a clean bed.

Will I experience pain during the procedure?

You will be sedated and will probably have no pain or recollection of the procedure. You may have some gaseous discomfort after the procedure which is usually mild and transient. A minor transient sore throat after an upper endoscopy is also possible.

What type of sedation do you use?

Almost all patients receive intravenous propofol or a combination of meds. This is a short acting medication given by an anesthetist intravenously. The medication works quickly, so you fall asleep quickly, but also wears off quickly, so soon after the procedure you are awake and alert.

Will I be on a ventilator during the procedure?

No. You will receive supplemental oxygen but will be breathing on your own. As the anesthesiologist will explain to you, there is a small risk of respiratory side effects associated with the procedure but the need for a ventilator is extremely rare (i.e. less that 0.1% of cases).

Ask Our Office

Allied Gastrointestinal Assocates, P.A.

Haddon Heights Office
217 White Horse Pike
Haddon Heights, NJ 08035

phone: (856) 547-1212
fax: (856) 547-3722

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Voorhees Office
502 Centennial Blvd, Suite 3
Voorhees, NJ 08043

phone: (856) 751-2300
fax: (856) 751-2333

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