What to Expect and Frequently Asked Questions

    What if I need to reschedule my appointment?
    Please call us at 919-966-5563 as soon as possible (and at least 3 days before the scheduled appointment).

      How do I prepare for my procedure?
      We perform more than 10 different types of GI (endoscopic) procedures.  Instructions for your specific procedure will be sent to you approximately 4 weeks prior to the scheduled appointment date.  These are also available here.

        I am travelling from out-of-town. Where do you recommend I stay?
        For hotels in the area, contact MedStay, a free concierge hotel reservation service for patients and their family members.  You may call and speak to a personal service team member at (877) 633-7829 or visit MedStay online at www.medstaychapelhill.com.

          What should I bring with me?
          Unless you plan to have a procedure without sedation (which is rare), you must be accompanied by an adult who can stay on the premises during the procedure and drive you home after it is completed.  You should also bring your insurance card, hospital card (if you have one), a completed pre-procedure questionnaire (sent 4 weeks prior to appointment; also available here), and either a credit card, debit card, or two checks for any possible out-of-pocket payments.

            Where do I go?
            Be sure to check the specific location of your appointment.  For a map with directions to the GI Procedures Unit at UNC Medical Center click
            here, for UNC Hospitals Endoscopy Center at Meadowmont click here, and for UNC at Hillsborough click here.

            When should I arrive?
            We ask that you arrive at the GI Procedure check-in desk at least 45 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment. This is to ensure that we have adequate time to get you ready for your procedure.  If your procedure is at UNC Medical Center, please be sure to leave an additional 30 minutes for parking and registration.

            What happens after I arrive and check-in?
            After you check-in you will be brought to the pre-procedure area where a nurse will ask you several questions, check your blood pressure, and place an IV.  You will also meet with a gastroenterologist who will discuss your history and procedure with you, answer any questions, examine you, and obtain your consent.  An anesthesiology professional may also ask you questions.  Next, you will be brought to the procedure room and meet a GI procedure nurse, a GI technician, an anesthesia provider (if any), and one or two GI physicians.  Just before the procedure starts you will be given medicine to make you comfortable, and then the procedure will be performed.  Most procedures last between 15 - 60 minutes.  During this time, your accompanying adult will be asked to wait in the waiting area or elsewhere on premises (she or he must be reachable by cell phone).  A variety of dining options are available at UNC Medical Center and at UNC Hospitals Endoscopy Center at Meadowmont.

            What happens after the procedure is completed?
            After the procedure is completed you will be brought to the recovery area, where you will fully awaken from the procedure, meet the adult who accompanies you, and remain for approximately 20-45 minutes.  Your GI physician will discuss the results with you and give you a copy of the procedure report.  Another copy will be sent to the physician who referred you for the procedure.  After you have fully recovered, a nurse will answer any additional questions, review a set of printed post-procedure instructions (covering diet, activity, and medication use), and send you home.  If you received sedative medications (almost all patients do) you will not be able to drive.  Instead, your accompanying adult will drive you home.  Hospital staff members are available to help you to your car, if necessary.

            How long will the whole process take?
            Please plan to spend at least 3 hours in our unit.
            We will do everything possible to avoid a delay in your procedure, but emergencies may interrupt the schedule.

            How much will this cost me? 
            Out-of-pocket costs vary depending on your insurance and the type of procedure.  A letter regarding possible procedure costs will be mailed to you within 4 weeks of your scheduled procedure.  Click here for the cost letter for procedures at UNC Memorial Hospital, here for UNC Endoscopy Center at Meadowmont, and here for UNC GI at Hillsborough.  For additional questions or assistance, please call our financial counselor, Charlene Brigman at 984-974-0116.  At no time do we want financial hardship to come between you and appropriate care.

            What if I normally take medications?
            Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDS): stop these 7 days before the

            colonoscopy unless they have been prescribed by your physician.
            􀁸 Plavix (Clopidgrel), Coumadin (Warfarin), and other blood thinners: discuss this with your
            􀁸 Blood pressure medicine: do not take any diuretics (e.g., Lasix), or blood pressure medicine that
            ends with “-pril” or “-artan” on the day of the colonoscopy.
            􀁸 Diabetes medicine: if you are diabetic and take long acting insulin (Lantus) then take only onehalf
            the night before the test. Then, do not take your diabetes medicine on the morning of the
            test. You will resume your medicines after the test.
            􀁸 Please check with your primary doctor if you have any further

            You should stop any aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDS) 7 days before the procedure unless they have been prescribed by your physician.

            If you take Plavix (Clopidgrel), Coumadin (Warfarin), and other blood thinners you will need to discuss these medications with your physician.  We provide a form (available here) to help guide your physician to make the right decision for you.

            You should not take any diuretics (e.g., Lasix), or blood pressure medicine that ends with “-pril” or “-artan” on the day of the procedure.

            If you are diabetic and take long acting insulin (Lantus) then take only one-half the night before the test. Do not take diabetes medicine on the morning of the test. You will resume your medicines after the test.

            Please check with your primary doctor or call us (919-966-5563) if you have any further questions.

            Who will perform my procedure?
            Your procedure will be performed by an experienced, board-certified UNC faculty gastroenterologist.  Sometimes a gastroenterology fellow physician will assist (at UNC Medical Center only).  Specially trained endoscopy nurses and technicians will also be present.  Often an anesthesiology professional is also part of the team.  Our goal is to keep you comfortable and perform safe, high-quality procedures.

            Will it hurt?
            We will do everything we can to keep you comfortable.  Most people remember little, if anything, about the procedure.  In fact, often they are surprised when they wake up and are told the test is already over!

            Can I eat after my procedure?
            Most patients can resume a normal diet after the procedure.  Your physician or nurse will give you specific dietary instructions after the procedure is completed.

            When can I return to work?
            If you receive sedative medications (most people) you may return to work the following day.  We can provide you with a doctor’s note if your employer requires one.

            Biopsies were taken.  When can I expect to receive these results?
            In general you will receive the results of any biopsies (tissue samples) by mail, approximately 2-4 weeks after the procedure.  If you do not receive these results by then, or need these sooner, please call us at 919-966-5563.

            Where can I learn more about GI procedures?
            Additional information is available from the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy by clicking here.

            What if I have additional questions?
            Call us at 919-966-5563.  After hours, if you have an urgent question about a procedure that has already been scheduled, please call 919-966-4131 and ask to page the GI fellow on call.