Questions to ask before your colonoscopy

Response to the NEJM study suggesting that thorough colonoscopies uncover more polyps and masses. These are some things to keep in mind as you choose a gastroenterologist:

Because colonoscopy typically involves sedation, there is usually no way for a patient to tell how thorough or careful a doctor is being or how long the examination is taking. But there are ways to judge beforehand whether, in general, a doctor tends to rush procedures.

“It’s fair to ask how many procedures a doctor does in a day,” said Dr. Deborah A. Nagle, chief of the section of colon and rectal surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. “If a colonoscopy is supposed to take half an hour, you don’t want someone who is doing 40 in a morning. A doctor who is doing about a dozen between 8 a.m. and noon makes sense.”

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