When is the best time of day to get a colonoscopy?

It doesn’t sound like something you want to do first thing in the morning, but it turns out it is. Make sure you schedule your colonoscopy early.

Two reasons…

One: You’ve been fasting for at least 12 hours. If your procedure is over early, you’re on your way to breakfast. If you’re procedure doesn’t happen until afternoon, you’ve got one long, hungry day ahead of you.

But the second — and more urgent — reason: Your endoscopist is more likely to find polyps in a morning session compared to an afternoon session.

In a new study in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, researchers tracked daily records of nearly 30 endoscopists for more than four months.

Results show a clear trend of finding more polyps, on average, toward the early part of the day, and fewer polyps toward the end of the day. In fact, the final colonoscopies of the day, on average, reveal about half as many polyps compared to the first procedures in the morning.

Researchers speculate that “endoscopist fatigue” accounts for the daily drop-off in polyp count.

That’s a drop-off that could impact your health in a huge way if a missed polyp happens to be malignant.

“Queue Position in the Endoscopic Schedule Impacts Effectiveness of Colonoscopy” The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 3/29/11, nature.com

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