Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is a Gastroenterologist?

A gastroenterologist is a physician with dedicated training and unique experience in the management of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and liver. For more information about gastroenterologists, click here to view an informative brochure provided by the American College of Gastroenterology.

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has completed advanced education (a minimum of a master’s degree) and training in the diagnosis and management of common medical conditions, including chronic illnesses.

Is Digestive Care Center affiliated with St. Mary’s Hospital?

Though we are located on the St. Mary’s campus, the medical practice and endoscopy center are independently owned by the physician members of Digestive Care Center. All of our physicians have medical staff privileges at St. Mary’s, Deaconess Gateway and Main, Select Hospital, Health South, Jasper Memorial Hospital, Gibson General Hospital.

Procedure Questions:

Can I meet my physician prior to the procedure?

Yes, you will meet your physician before your procedure.

What is a clear liquid diet?

Clear liquids are liquids that if you held them up to the light you could see through them. For instance black coffee with sugar no cream, coke, tea, popsicles, broth, jello, water, sprite.

Can I have clear liquids the day of my procedure?

Yes. You can have clear liquids up to 4 hours prior to your scheduled procedure.

What will happen if I eat or drink something right before (or a few hours before) my procedure?

Your procedure may be cancelled. It is dangerous to receive sedation if you have had something to eat or drink before your procedure. It will also cause your bowel prep to be ineffective.

Can I drink wine or beer during the bowel prep?

No. The bowel prep may dehydrate you. It is important to drink plenty of water or clear liquids during your bowel prep to remain hydrated.

Can I chew gum or suck candy?

Yes, but remember nothing 4 hours prior to the procedure, not even water.

Can I brush my teeth?

Yes.

Can I wear my dentures?

Yes, you may wear your dentures to the Endoscopy Suite. However, you may be asked to remove them prior to the procedure.

I have been instructed not to take anti-inflammatories or blood thinners several days before the procedure. What can I take for headaches and pain relief?

You may take Tylenol as directed.

Can I have my colonoscopy done if I am having my menstrual period?

Yes, the procedure can still be performed. We ask that you use a tampon if possible.

Do I need a prescription for the laxatives?

Yes, we mail you the directions and prescriptions.

Can I take pills for a bowel prep?

No.

I already have diarrhea before taking the prep, do I still have to take the laxative?

Yes, you must take the prep as directed by your doctor. Your colon is approximately 6 feet long. The entire colon must be emptied for your physician to see the colon clearly.

I am taking the prep and already have loose, watery stool; do I still need the rest of the prep?

Yes, you may have solid stool higher in the colon that needs to be eliminated.

What can I eat after the procedure?

This will depend on your physician directions but most patients may resume their normal diet. You may be asked to avoid spicy or greasy foods for the next several hours.

Where will my procedure be performed?

Your procedure will be performed at one of our locations; (see hospital affiliations) or in our outpatient endoscopy center located on the first floor beneath our offices on St. Mary’s campus in the Medical Office Buildings.

How long will it take for my procedure?

The endoscopy procedure lasts less than one hour. However, patients should allow for a total of three hours at our endoscopy center. If the procedure is performed at the hospital, the process will normally take longer.

May I go back to work after my procedure?

No, please remain in home the day of your procedure. You can return to work the day after unless your physician specifically tells you otherwise.

When will I receive the test results for my endoscopy procedure?

Immediately following your procedure, your physician will have a brief discussion with you about findings during the procedure. However, biopsy results will not be known until the tissue specimens have been examined by a lab facility and sent back to the physician for interpretation. Your physician will normally contact you within 5–7 business days of the time of your procedure by either calling you with the results or sending you a letter by mail.

Will I be sedated during my procedure?

Yes. We offer Propofol sedation to our patients through Anesthesia Care Associates for all our endoscopic procedures. Propofol offers many advantages as a sedative for endoscopy. Plan to bring a driver with you who can drive you home and plan to avoid driving or making important decisions throughout the remainder of the day.

Insurance and Billing Questions:

If your office pre-certifies my procedure, doesn’t that mean my procedure will be covered?

No. Pre-certification is performed by our office as a courtesy to you in arranging for your procedure and is never a guarantee of coverage. In order for you to know the extent of your coverage for a service, you need to contact your insurance company to discuss specifically what is covered under your plan and the extent of payment required from you for deductibles and coinsurance.

If my insurance fully covers screening services (such as colonoscopy), then won’t my procedure be fully covered?

Insurance companies often provide screening coverage for screening colonoscopy. However, if during the course of your screening the physician removes a polyp or performs a tissue biopsy, the procedure may be considered diagnostic and may not qualify for coverage as a screening service. In this case, you may be responsible for all or part of the procedure cost. It is important to investigate these matters prior to having a procedure.

My physician performed an endoscopy procedure and I have received two billings for the procedure. Is this an error?

No. Please see our insurance and billing policies section for detailed information.

Who is doing your colonoscopy? A gastroenterologist for my colonoscopy…please

The physicians of Digestive Care Center are from various parts of the United States and are all board certified in Gastroenterology, having accumulated at least six years of training after medical school. The gastroenterology training experience is far more intense than that undertaken by general surgeons, internists, or family practitioners that decide to add endoscopy to their practices. Our physicians are trained to interpret and treat the conditions they identify and uphold the safest level of endoscopy. This expertise and extensive training is not always present in hospital-based endoscopy and therefore they cannot provide the same level of quality and safety that Digestive Care Center provides. Digestive Care Center strives to provide excellence in all they do. It is our goal to help diagnose your problems and give you tips on living with specific gastrointestinal diseases, and provide the highest level of comfort and services during your procedures.