How long does a colonoscopy take?

Many people want to know how long their colonoscopy will take. This timeline is important for patients and the caregivers who come with them to a colonoscopy appointment.

A colonoscopy procedure typically takes 30-60 minutes, depending on whether the doctor needs to remove polyps or take biopsies. 

However, patients and caregivers should plan to spend 2-3 hours total at the hospital or endoscopy center to account for the time needed for preparation and recovery.

During colonoscopy preparation and recovery, caregivers either wait in a waiting room or give their number to the office staff to receive a call when it is time to pick up the patient. 

Because sedation is given, patients will need the remainder of the day to rest and recover at home; those who work should plan to take the day off.

patient looking at computer

Breaking it down

Your day will include:

  • 30-60 minutes to prepare the patient directly prior to the procedure
  • 30-60 minutes for the colonoscopy itself
  • 30-60 minutes to recover at the hospital or endoscopy center directly following the procedure
  • The remainder of the day to rest and recover at home

Top resources