Procedure in which a flexible fiber-optic instrument is inserted through the anus in order to examine the colon. Special note regarding the difference between screening colonoscopy and diagnostic colonoscopy.
Screening colonoscopy is performed on an asymptomatic patient for the purpose of testing for the presence of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps. Medicare and most third-party payors (health insurance companies) are required to cover such procedures without a co-pay or deductible.
Diagnostic colonoscopy is a test performed to evaluate an abnormal finding, sign or symptom (such as iron deficiency anemia, blood in stool, chronic diarrhea, etc.). Medicare and most payors (health insurance companies) do not waive the co-pay and deductible when the intent of the visit is to perform a diagnostic colonoscopy.
We encourage our patients to check with their insurance company regarding their coverage for screening versus diagnostic colonoscopy.
Who Needs a Colonoscopy?
Everyone should have a colonoscopy exam around age 50. However, there are several situations that call for performing a colonoscopy at a younger age. For instance, adult men and women with a family history of colon cancer should have a colonoscopy by age 40. In some cases, depending on the age of the family member(s) with colon cancer, a colonoscopy might be performed even earlier than age 40. Colonoscopies are also performed on patients of varying ages who have Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or other gastrointestinal problems.
If you are age 50 or older and have never had a colonoscopy, consider scheduling an appointment with a gastroenterologist to discuss having one. For adults of any age struggling with gastrointestinal issues, a colonoscopy can potentially determine the cause of the gastrointestinal problems.