Breadcrumbs Navigation

Home > Services > Gastroenterology and Endoscopy Services > Prepare for Your Visit > Endoscopy Frequently Asked Questions

Endoscopy Frequently Asked Questions

Your doctor will give you specific instructions to help you prepare for your colonoscopy or upper endoscopy. Please follow these instructions exactly.

The following frequently asked questions may be useful as you prepare for your procedure at Duke Regional Hospital.

What is a clear liquid diet?

Any liquid you can see through is considered clear, including:

  • Tea
  • Coffee (hot/iced, flavored or herbal)
  • Juices, such as cranberry, apple, and white grape
  • Soft drinks
  • Gatorade
  • Kool-Aid
  • Soups, bouillon or broth chicken, beef, or vegetable
  • Gelatin without fruit
  • Popsicles or Italian ices

Milk or cream substitutes are not permitted. Do not drink lemonade or prune, grapefruit, orange, tomato, or pineapple juice, which all contain pulp and are cloudy. Avoid red, orange, and purple colored liquids.

What is conscious sedation?

Conscious sedation, or moderate sedation, is a state of an altered level of consciousness. You will respond to verbal communication and touch.

Some people drift in and out of a sleepy state. Others will watch the whole procedure on the screen. Our goal is to keep you as comfortable as possible.

I have sleep apnea. Do I need to bring my CPAP/Bi-PAP machine with me?

Yes. For your safety, Durham Regional Hospital policy requires that if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea you must bring your CPAP/Bi-PAP machine even if you don’t use it at home. Your procedure will be cancelled if you do not bring your machine.

How big is the scope?

A colonoscope is approximately five feet long and no wider than your index finger. An endoscope is approximately four feet long and no wider than your pinky finger.

How is the scope cleaned?

Scopes are cleaned and processed with high-level disinfectants following strict federal guidelines.

What does “stool must be clear” mean?

The laxatives you take before your procedure will clean out your bowels. Your stools should be see-through and have a watery consistency.

Will I be gassy after the procedure?

Yes. The doctor will instill air in your colon to extend every fold for a thorough exam. Air is suctioned out as much as possible, but some gets trapped.

We encourage you to pass this gas in recovery. The gas will be odorless.

What is olestra/olean?

It is a synthetic fat made from soybeans and cottonseeds. It is found in low fat chips, salted snacks, popcorn, and crackers. It leaves a waxy film inside your colon.

Do not eat olestra/olean five days prior to procedure, according to your doctor’s instructions.

Why can’t I eat seeds or nuts?

Seeds found in tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, strawberries, pine nuts, flax seeds etc., will clog up the scopes. Do not eat seeds or nuts for five days prior to your procedure, according to your doctor’s instructions.

How long does the procedure take?

A colonoscopy takes approximately 30 minutes. An endoscopy takes five to 10 minutes.

Can I eat after the procedure?

Yes. If you have had a colonoscopy you may eat anything you want. If you have had an upper endoscopy, your first meal should be soft foods with small bites. You can slowly begin eating a regular diet as tolerated.