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How to Choose a Quality Gastroenterologist

Choosing a qualified gastroenterologist to perform a colonoscopy, a potentially life-saving procedure, is just as important as scheduling the appointment itself. What do you need to know to select from a group of gastroenterologists who seem equally skilled and competent? Here are important questions to ask before scheduling your colonoscopy:

What is the Gastroenterologist’s Adenoma Detection Rate?

The most important question to ask a gastroenterologist is “What is your adenoma detection rate?” Adenomas are precancerous polyps that a gastroenterologist will identify and remove during a colonoscopy. Removing these pre-malignant polyps (adenomas) significantly reduces the likelihood that a patient will develop colon cancer.

Adenoma detection rate (ADR) is the percentage of patients undergoing a colonoscopy who have one or more adenomas detected by the doctor. A higher ADR means the doctor has located and removed precancerous colon polyps from a greater percentage of patients.

A gastroenterologist’s ADR will differ between men and women – but should be at least 25 percent for male patients and 15 percent for female patients. As reported to a national GI quality registry, the average ADR of StopColonCancerNow’s gastroenterologists is considerably higher than the goal established by leading gastroenterology societies.

Do not hesitate to ask your gastroenterologist for this information. The rate is a quality measure that distinguishes the best gastroenterologists in the profession. Physicians should be proud to share their ADR.

What is the Gastroenterologist’s Withdrawal Time?

You should also ask the gastroenterologist about average withdrawal time. The withdrawal time refers to the amount of time that it takes for the gastroenterologist to remove the colonoscope after reaching the beginning of the colon (the cecum). High adenoma detection rates are typically associated with a longer withdrawal time, which is at least six minutes.

Colon polyps that are left in the colon will grow and can develop into colon cancer. Adenoma detection rate and withdrawal time are two quality measures that should matter to you in ensuring that the gastroenterologist finds and removes precancerous adenomatous polyps and lesions.

Adequate Bowel Preparation

You can do your part toward ensuring a successful procedure by reading and following the bowel preparation instructions given by the gastroenterologist. The colon should be completely cleared in preparation for the colon cancer screening.

A high ADR, longer withdrawal time and complete bowel flush are the three most important components for a quality colon cancer screening (Advocate Health Care E-News).

Now that you know which questions to ask, find a qualified gastroenterologist near you and make an appointment for a screening today.