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Hidden Cost of Sedation for Screening and Surveillance by Optical Colonoscopy


The majority of colonoscopies for performed under sedation. Patient recovery time and activity restrictions have social and economic costs. A shortage of facilities, trained personnel, and equipment limits physicians’ ability to perform colonoscopy. In one study, patients spent a median of 37.2 hours from bowel preparation until resumption of routine activities. If there were no sedation used, patients could save as much as 18 hours. In one study, examining non-adherence to screening colonoscopy, 14% of patients reported transportation difficulties as a significant barrier. Further research might describe the effect of sedation-free colonoscopy on access, economic costs, and social costs as they relate to patients and their caregivers.