The list below of commonly asked questions is continuously under revision. If your question is not addressed here and you think it should be, let us know. Give us a call or use the convenient Contact Us page to get in touch.
What insurance carriers does DHA accept?
There are thousands of insurance companies that could potentially serve our patients and DHA works with the vast majority of them.
What do I do if I am on Coumadin?
Most people stop Coumadin for five days before their procedure.
For Colonoscopy: If polyps are removed you have to stay off of coumadin for another few days- depending on the size of the polyp. You must check with your primary care doctor or Cardiologist to be sure this is OK.
For Upper Endoscopy - Most can resume their coumadin the next day.
What do I do if I am on a Plavix, Eliquis, Xarelto or another anti-coagulant?
Please call our office to discuss. Depending on the condition and medication we typically hold them between 2-5 days. You will also need to discuss with your PCP or Cardiologist to be sure this is OK.
Do I need to take antibiotics if I have a murmur?
The risk of infection is much lower than with dental procedures. Unless you have actually had prior Endocarditis (a heart valve infection) in the past, we do not give antibiotics before the procedure. There are rare exceptions. If you are concerned to let us know when you show up for your exam. Remember, there are risks associated with taking antibiotics.
Do I need to take antibiotics if I have had a joint replaced?
Medical guidelines do not recommend taking antibiotics for patients with a history of joint replacement. We typically delay routine procedures for 3-6 month after a joint replacement.
When do I have to stop eating before my exam?
In order to use sedation medications safely, you cannot eat any solids for 6 hours or drink clear liquids for 3 hours before the sedation starts. If your exam starts in the early morning we suggest not having anything when you get up in the morning.
When do I have to stop my Aspirin?
If you take the Aspirin because you have had a heart attack, a cardiac stent or stroke, then Do NOT stop it prior to the procedure.
If you are taking aspirin only as a precaution, then you should stop it for the SEVEN days prior to the procedure.
You may be asked to hold your aspirin for a week after the procedure because with some tests it can increase the risk of bleeding.
What days do the Doctors see office consultations and follow-ups?
As a group we see patients in the office 5 days a week. Your specific doctor may have set days and hours. Please call the office to schedule your appointment.
What days do the Doctors perform procedures?
As a group, we do procedures 5 days a week. We try accommodate scheduling request. Individual MD schedules change each week. Practice coordinators can answer your questions about availability.
Do I have to drink the WHOLE colonoscopy preparation?
YES- YES- YES- This is the toughest part of a colonoscopy, but also the most important thing you need to do. A good prep means a good exam and an excellent prep means an excellent exam.
We have many different preps available and your doctor has prescribed what they believe will work best for you. If you become nauseated or vomit, you should take a half hour to an hour break, the resume drinking more slowly.
What is a low roughage diet, and why is it recommended before a Colonoscopy?
Low roughage means to avoid foods that are solid and chunky and can clog the suction channel of the scope and compromise the exam. Nuts, seeds, whole grains, corn, peas, popcorn, stalky vegetables are all things that can enter the colon poorly digested and clog the colonoscope.
Why can't I take a taxi cab home after my procedure?
We can only discharge you home with a "responsible" person. The assumption is that family and friends will take good care of you when your judgment is clouded. This is not an insult to taxi drivers but we cannot discharge you to someone who may not act in your best interest if there were an unforeseen occurrence. The only scenario where you can take a taxi or Uber is IF you have a responsible person with you (ie a companion that does not drive)
I do not take insulin but I am a diabetic, should I take my medication?
If your exam is before noon you can wait until after your exam to take your medication. You will be able to eat shortly after your exam. Clear liquids are okay for up to 3 hours before the test.
I have low blood sugar if I don't eat. What should I do?
You can drink clear liquids up to 3 hours before the procedure. If you still do not feel right and think your sugar is low you can use hard candy or a sugar packet to increase your blood sugar. We can check your blood sugar upon arrival
How long will the colonoscopy take?
From arrival to departure, it takes approximately 1:30 – 2:30.
It takes 30 minutes to check you in, complete the pre-procedure assessment and start an IV. The average procedure takes about 30 minutes. You will be in recovery for 30 minutes before you are ready to be discharged home.
How long will the endoscopy (gastroscopy) take?
From arrival to departure, it takes approximately 1:00 – 1:30.
It takes 30 minutes to check you in, complete the pre-procedure assessment and start an IV. The average procedure takes 15 minutes. You will be in recovery for 30 minutes before you are ready to be discharged home.
Do I need a referral from my doctor? Will my insurance company pay for the exam?
This varies among insurance companies. Please try to familiarize yourself with your plan benefits. It is always a good idea to get a referral from your doctor. We will try our best to be sure the exam is covered. With co-pays and deductibles getting more significant every year you should always check with your plan to see what the exam means to you financially. Do NOT skip an important exam because the insurance piece can be complex and frustrating! Your health is still the most important aspect of the process.
I heard there were "non-invasive" tests that were just as good?
The X-rays of the colon are not as useful, biopsies cannot be taken and polyps cannot be removed. Most insurance companies will not pay for a Virtual colonoscopy (yet). In the future, this may be an option.
The Video Camera Capsule looks at the small bowel but as of now, it cannot be reliably used to evaluate the colon.
Cologuard is an option for some low risk individuals( no family history of polyps/cancer) who are without symptoms. It only detects colon cancer or lesions on the verge of turning into colon cancer. Its limitations are that it can not detect most precancerous polyps nor can it remove them to prevent them from turning into colon cancer.
Colonoscopy remains the best and most effective tool available to prevent colon cancer
How often will I need to get the colonoscopy done?
High-risk patients, those with polyps or a family history of colon cancer may need an exam at least every five years and sometimes more frequently.
Low-risk patients who have a normal exam and do not have polyps can go 10 years between exams (but this is also individualized).
There are situations where a colonoscopy is repeated in 3 or 6 months. There are some patients who require a colonoscopy every year.
There is no set interval which covers all patients, but most exams are done in 5 or 10-year intervals.
Your gastroenterologist will set a personal screening protocol for you based on your history.
Will I see my doctor and be able to ask questions before the procedure?
Absolutely. We always greet our patients; review your medical history and the procedure, risks, benefits, and alternatives in person before giving any sedation. If you have medical concerns or issues that you would like to review .
Should I call after hours if I cannot complete the preparation or have questions?
YES- Digestive Health Associates is available all the time. You are free to call if you have concerns. We would much rather speak with you to make sure you complete your prep than have you get frustrated and cancel an exam that could be life-saving!
What is a polyp? (Colonoscopy)
A polyp is a growth of colonic mucosa. Inflammatory polyps are benign. Hyperplastic polyps are also benign. Adenomas or adenomatous polyps are the "pre-cancerous" polyps that we remove to decrease the chance of getting colon cancer. Your doctor will inform you of the type of polyps and will advise follow-up based on the results.