Many patients are confused by the difference between a screening and a diagnostic colonoscopy. While the actual procedure is the same, the distinction between the two depends on why the colonoscopy is being done. While you might think that I am wading into a sea of nonsense and absurdity, I am offering you a glimpse of the rational and reasonable world of medical insurance! Try to follow along. Here’s a primer. A screening exam means that you have no symptoms or relevant laboratory or x-ray abnormalities that justify a colonoscopy. Consider this to be a simple check-up for your colon. You are being screened to determine if you have a hidden abnormality or lesion. Get it? A diagnostic exam means that the doctor is investigating an existing or suspected abnormality. A medical condition is under consideration and a colonoscopy is advised to investigate. For example, if you have bowel symptoms, weight loss, blood in the stool, a personal history of colon polyps
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