The Differences Between a Screening Colonoscopy and a Diagnostic Colonoscopy

A screening colonoscopy is a preventative procedure meant to evaluate the health of a patient’s colon. Screenings are covered by Medicare and typically covered by insurance after the age of 50 as a preventative measure against colon cancer.

When is it a screening?

  • No warning signs of colon polyps or colon cancer
  • No  history of colon polyps or colon cancer
  • No family history of colon polyps or colon cancer

A diagnostic colonoscopy is a procedure that is of conducted when a patient expresses warning signs or symptoms of colon polyps or colon cancer. This procedure is covered by Medicare with a co-insurance, but is not typically covered by insurance so please check with your provider on the costs you may incur.

When is it a diagnostic colonoscopy?

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Persistent abdominal pain
  • Family history of colon cancer or colon polyps

Can a screening turn into a diagnostic colonoscopy?

Yes. If a lesion or growth is detected during a screening and results in a biopsy or removal, the screening will be classified as a diagnostic colonoscopy. Remember that coding of the procedure is also based on the physician’s evaluation when it comes to your symptoms and insurance coverage.

How long does it take for me to find out my results?

Zazen makes it a mission to share your results with you as soon as available. We do not share pathology or imaging with patients nor discuss results over the phone unless approved by the physician. We prefer patients come into the office for a face-to-face discussion of results.