The Best Colonoscopy Timing

Maximize your screening with these smart tips.

By Norine Dworkin-McDaniel
female doctor patient appointment office test results picture
Photograph: Sean Locke

To help increase the accuracy of your colonoscopy, ask for the first appointment of the day. That’s when the doctors who perform the procedure are sharpest and most attentive, according to research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. In an analysis of more than 1,000 colonoscopy reports, researchers found that once the day’s procedures started, the rate of detecting polyps dropped by 4 percent every hour and by more than 5 percent for each subsequent procedure, regardless of which doctor was doing the screening. The last procedures of the day found only half as many polyps as the first ones.

Another way to improve a colonoscopy’s accuracy: Make sure your colon is thoroughly cleaned out before the appointment. “We need to see the entire lining of the colon, and the best way to ensure that is with adequate bowel preparation,” says study author C. Prakash Gyawali, MD, a gastroenterologist at Washington University School of Medicine. On the day before the test, he suggests sticking to a clear, mainly liquid diet—water, soup, Jell-O in any color but red. (If your colon lining turns red during the procedure, it may look as though it’s bleeding.) 

Originally published in the October 2011 issue of More.

Next: Midlife Medical Procedures Decoded

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First Published October 25, 2011

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Elizabeth 10.01.2014

Thanks for sharing the correct timing for colonoscopy.

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