Sedation for colonoscopies

A colonoscopy can take anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes, depending on what is discovered during the exam. To relieve anxiety, discomfort, or pain, some form of anesthesia or sedation is provided.

young woman speaking to doctor

Types of sedation

Be sure to talk to your doctor about what kind of sedation you will have for your colonoscopy before you schedule your procedure. Let them know if you are feeling anxious about any part of the sedation. 

One of two different types of sedation will be used for the procedure.

IV bag on pole

Conscious sedation

Minimal to moderate or “conscious” sedation usually involves intravenous (IV) doses of sedatives. You should be very comfortable, but not totally unconscious.

doctor holding scope with patient

General anesthesia

General anesthesia or "deep" sedation usually involves an anesthesia professional administering Propofol. You should not feel or remember anything.

Questions to ask your doctor

It’s important to ask your physician and insurance company sedation any financial questions, such as:

  • What sedation options do you offer at your facility and can I choose a different sedation option?
  • What sedation do you recommend for me and is there an additional charge for this sedation option?
  • Are my gastroenterologist and facility “in-network” for my health insurance plan?
  • Is my colonoscopy procedure covered under my insurance plan?
  • If a polyp is found and removed, will this also be covered?
  • Can you do my colonoscopy at another facility for less cost?
  • Considering all the fees and charges, what out of pocket expenses will I be responsible for?

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