Colonoscopy & the Anesthesiologist

Colonoscopy And Sedation. Why You Need An Anesthesiologist.

By now, everyone knows that colon screening is a key ingredient in preventing colon or rectal cancer. Polyps, those nasty little overgrowths on the wall of the colon or rectum, can grow and transform into an even nastier problem. Colonoscopy can prevent this, whether in Los Angeles or any other city in the U.S.

But, did you know that besides your colon and rectal surgeon, also known as a proctologist, besides your nurse and your technician, there is an equally valuable member of the team? The anesthesiologist is the man or woman responsible for monitoring your breathing, your heart functioning and your overall well being during the colonoscopy. Your anesthesiologist allows your surgeon to focus solely on your colon. Nothing else. And that is just what you want.

Is The Anesthesiologist really Worth This Article?

In a word…YES. Why? Besides the obvious life sustaining and life saving capabilities of this invaluable member of the team, it is important for you to understand how many insurance companies feel about the anesthesiologist and about anesthesia during colonoscopy. First, a little history.

Several years ago, a gastroenterologist wrote a small article and stated that gastroenterologists were perfectly able to both perform a colonoscopy and safely administer intravenous Propofol®, the drug commonly used for sedation. Although this has statement has been widely disputed, several insurance companies seized on this irresponsible statement and began refusing to pay for outpatient colonoscopy anesthesia. This left patients confused and more than a bit disturbed. To make matters worse, when patients called the insurance company, they were told that anesthesia was included in the cost of the procedure. What the insurance company did not tell the patients was that the anesthesia was expected to be administered by the gastroenterologist or surgeon. No anesthesiologist in attendance. Naturally, patients complained when they were asked to pay for anesthesia services. To complicate matters further, insurance companies told patients that there were exceptions under which the insurance company would pay for anesthesia services. The problem? The exceptions were so rare and uncommon, that very few patients met the criteria. No reimbursement.

Where Are We Today?

As of now, several companies still refuse to pay for the services of this most valuable member of your team. Medicare and many other companies DO pay for these services, and this is commendable. The “services” of a well trained anesthesiologist are critically important. What does the anesthesiologist do?

  • Meets you prior to your exam and takes a complete health history, including any allergies and prior anesthesia problems as well as taking your medication and drug interaction history.
  • Assesses your physical status and vital signs.
  • Begins the monitoring process.
  • Administers the appropriate anesthestic medication.
  • Continuously monitors your heart rate and rhythm, your breathing pattern and your overall well being.
  • Takes care of whatever may “go wrong”. And, there are many things that can, and do “go wrong” that are only under the control of nature. The services and skills of the anesthesiologist are of life saving importance.
  • Returns you safely to the recovery room and follows you until your discharge.

What You Should Do.

It is simple. If your insurance company will not pay for these life saving services, simply pay the small amount being asked of you. It is money well invested. You may never see a return on this “investment”, and that is the way it should be. It means that you have returned home safely, and in good health.

Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates.

The surgeons of Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates are fully committed to helping you maintain your good health. The doctors are all board certified and care for all diseases of the colon, rectum and anus. Working with skilled anesthesiologists, they function as a silent team to care for you. You may find out more about this team effort by calling (310)273-2310 and scheduling a confidential and enlightening consultation.