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Cost of colonoscopy

The average cash price for colonoscopy care is $1,136 at a surgery center versus $1,608 at an outpatient hospital. While a surgery center may offer fewer complimentary services, and may not have the full range of support services that outpatient hospital provides, it may still be worth the (29%) you'd save when comparing the cost of colonoscopy performed at an outpatient hospital. Read More

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Average cash price in U.S.

A common colonoscopy at surgery center facility in U.S. includes

  Units Avg Cash price

Provider

Gastroenterologist visit provider fee

First time visit Standard
1 $130

Provider fee for diagnostic colonoscopy

Including collection of test samples Standard
1 $242

Facility

Surgery center fee for diagnostic colonoscopy

Standard Standard
1 $483

Lab

Lab fee for colorectal cancer screening; fecal occult blood test, immunoassay, 1-3 simultaneous

Standard Standard
1 $23

Anesthesia

Anesthesiologist fee to be "put under" for procedure

Level 2 Standard
1 $134

Anesthesiologist time to be "put under" for procedure

Per minute Standard
62 $124
Total average cash price   $1,136.40

A common colonoscopy at outpatient hospital facility in U.S. includes

  Units Avg Cash price

Provider

Gastroenterologist visit provider fee

First time visit Standard
1 $130

Provider fee for diagnostic colonoscopy

Including collection of test samples Standard
1 $242

Facility

Outpatient Hospital fee to examine colon (large intestine) for diagnosis, using endoscope

level 1 Standard
1 $955

Lab

Lab fee for colorectal cancer screening; fecal occult blood test, immunoassay, 1-3 simultaneous

Standard Standard
1 $23

Anesthesia

Anesthesiologist fee to be "put under" for procedure

Level 2 Standard
1 $134

Anesthesiologist time to be "put under" for procedure

Per minute Standard
62 $124
Total average cash price   $1,608.40

A diagnostic colonoscopy is a procedure used to evaluate gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, or rectal bleeding. During the procedure, a doctor inserts a colonoscope into your rectum. The colonoscope has a tiny camera that lets the physician view your entire colon.

During the procedure, the doctor can remove polyps or other abnormal tissues if needed. They can also take biopsies, or tissue samples, if suspicious tissue is detected.

Diagnostic colonoscopies take between 30 and 60 minutes to complete. The time varies based on what the physician finds and if they need to remove a lesion or take biopsies. If the doctor discovers something suspicious, they may spend more time observing your colon to determine a diagnosis.

Doctors use two types of anesthesia in colonoscopies. About 95% of colonoscopy patients receive deep sedation (general anesthesia) from propofol administered by an anesthesiologist. The other 5% have conscious sedation administered by the doctor.

Propofol takes about five minutes to make the patient unconscious. After the procedure, it takes another 10-15 minutes to wake up. Most people need someone to drive them home as the full effects can take hours to wear off.

The doctor may recommend conscious sedation for patients who have cardiovascular, blood pressure, or respiratory problems, as they may have medical issues or reactions with propofol.

After the diagnostic colonoscopy, you will need to stay in an outpatient center for an hour or two for the anesthesia to wear off. You will need a pre-arranged driver to take you home, and you and a family member will receive instructions to care for you.

Some people feel cramping or bloating after the procedure. However, you can expect to recover fully in one day and can drive and exercise normally.

If your physician removed polyps or did a biopsy, you might experience some anal bleeding. It could take a couple of days to have another bowel movement, and you may see blood in it.

If the doctor did not find anything in the diagnostic colonoscopy, you can eat and drink regularly later the day of your procedure. However, your doctor may provide special diet instructions if you had a polypectomy or biopsy.

Your doctor can tell you if they found any abnormal tissues or polyps immediately after the procedure. If they find something, they send it to the laboratory to determine its cancer status.

Lab results should come back in a few days. Your doctor will schedule an appointment to discuss the results with you. They may recommend more frequent surveillance to see if you have more polyps, especially if they were precancerous or cancerous.

Doctors often prescribe diagnostic colonoscopies when they suspect a patient has colorectal or gastrointestinal issues or if you have risk factors for colon cancer. These procedures occur at the onset of symptoms rather than as a regular examination.

You may need diagnostic colonoscopy if you:

  • experience unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • have risk factors for colorectal cancer.
  • are found to have blood in a stool sample test 

Or you may have unexplained symptoms, such as:

  • blood in the stool.
  • anemia.
  • abdominal cramping or pain.
  • vomiting.
  • anemia.
  • weight loss.
  • chronic diarrhea or constipation.
  • excessive gas or bloating.

The following factors make you at higher risk for colon cancer:

  • being male.
  • being African American.
  • having a family history of polyps or colon cancer.
  • having a bowel disease.
  • having a genetic disorder like Lynch syndrome that increases your cancer risk.
  • being overweight.
  • smoking cigarettes.

Doctors perform regular colonoscopies on asymptomatic patients age 45 or older with no history of colorectal issues. These occur every ten years as a screening examination to ensure you have no problems. You may have more frequent screenings if your doctor believes your risk has increased. If you have a higher risk or are showing symptoms of colon problems, your doctor may perform a diagnostic colonoscopy.

Your insurance coverage may be different based on a screening vs. diagnostic colonoscopy. You should check with your insurance carrier to confirm the level of your benefit coverage.

 

About the colonoscopy Average Cash Prices

This procedure is most commonly performed at either a surgery center or an outpatient hospital.

Surgery centers, also known as ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), are independent, licensed medical facilities that are governed by distinct regulatory requirements compared with a hospital. Procedures performed at an ASCs are often less expensive than when they are performed at an outpatient hospital, but they typically offer fewer complimentary services, and may not have the full-range of support services that a hospital provides.

Outpatient facilities are outpatient departments or clinics that may be within or next to a hospital, but is owned and run by the affiliated hospital. These facilities can perform surgical treatments and procedures that do not require an overnight stay. Procedures performed at an outpatient hospital are often more expensive than when they are performed in an ambulatory surgery center, but outpatient hospitals may offer more complimentary and support services for patients because they are connected to the hospital system.

Your actual costs may be higher or lower than these cost estimates. Check with your provider and health plan details to confirm the costs that you may be charged for a service or procedure. You are responsible for costs that are not covered and for getting any pre-authorizations or referrals required by your health plan. Neither payments nor benefits are guaranteed.

The site is not a substitute for medical or health care advice and does not serve as a recommendation for a particular provider or type of medical or health care.

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* Savings estimate based on a study of more than 1 billion claims comparing self-pay (or cash pay) prices of a frequency-weighted market basket of procedures to insurer-negotiated rates for the same. Claims were collected between July 2017 and July 2019. R. Lawrence Van Horn, Arthur Laffer, Robert L. Metcalf. 2019. The Transformative Potential for Price Transparency in Healthcare: Benefits for Consumers and Providers. Health Management Policy and Innovation, Volume 4, Issue 3.

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