San Diego Colonoscopy

For Patients

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on each link to reveal the Questions & Answers.

Before Your Procedure

Will I be contacted prior to my surgery by the facility?
Yes. Although you most likely received information from your doctor and/or clinic staff, the staff at Alfa Surgery Center will also call you to ask you a few questions pertaining to your medical history, surgical history, and medications. They will also remind you about your procedure arrival time and what to expect the day of the procedure.
What tests are required prior to my surgery?
Every patient is unique. Any pre-operative tests will be determined by your physician and communicated to you prior to the date of your procedure.
What sort of preparation is needed for a colonoscopy or EGD?
Your doctor will give you all your prep instructions prior to your procedure. Follow these instructions carefully as the quality of your prep directly affects the quality of your examination. If you have any questions, please contact the doctor’s office immediately. We want to make sure your preparation is complete.
What should I bring?
  • Please bring a photo ID and your insurance card(s). Our staff will need to verify and make copies when you check-in on the day of your surgery.
  • Be sure to bring any medications that you may need during your stay at the facility (e.g., inhaler or insulin).
  • Please bring a list of all drugs you are currently taking.
  • Please bring payment of any patient responsibility (e.g. co-payment or deductible). For your convenience, we accept credit/debit cards as well as checks and cash.
  • Please leave all valuables at home (including jewelry, watches).We do not have a safe on site to lock up valuables.
Should I arrange a ride to/from the facility?
Yes!! You will not be allowed to drive after surgery. Please arrange for an adult to drive you home and for someone to be with you the remainder of the day following your procedure. Not having a ride can lead to cancellation/postponement of your procedure
What may I eat and drink before surgery?
Typically, you should avoid eating or drinking ANYTHING after midnight the night before your procedure. But, your physician or a pre-operative nurse will inform you of your specific restrictions. It is very important that you follow the provided instructions. If you do not, your procedure could be delayed or even cancelled. The main thing for most colonoscopy patients is to avoid foods containing seeds 3 days prior to the procedure, as well as any instructions for clear liquid diet and preparation instructions given to you by the clinic.
Should I take my routine medications on the day of surgery?
You will be given instructions regarding medications by your physician or a staff member. Also, as noted above, please be prepared to list all medications (including name and dose) you are taking and to bring any with you that may be needed during your stay (e.g., inhaler or insulin).
What if I think I might be pregnant?
Please be sure to notify your physician and/or nurse prior to the date of surgery if you think you may be pregnant. T

Day of the Procedure

Alfa Surgery Center does not have a private parking lot for staff and patients. There is a fee parking lot across the street from our center on the corner of Landis and Davidson. It has varying rates depending on your length of stay. The max time allowed there is 6 hours and the fee is very reasonable, compared to the pay meters (which are more expensive and have 2 hour limits). Free parking can be found west of the center near Friendship Park on the corner of 4th and Davidson, depending on availability.
When should I arrive and what documents do I need to have ready?
You will receive instructions regarding arrival time during your pre-operative phone call. It is important that you arrive at the designated time. We need enough time to get you ready PRIOR to the scheduled start time of the procedure. Please bring with you your patient information sheet and health history form ALREADY COMPLETED to aid in speeding your admission process. You should have received these forms from the clinic. We will need to photocopy your driver’s license and insurance card, so please make sure you have those with you as well.
What should I wear?
For your comfort, we encourage you to wear clothing that can be easily removed and stored. Please avoid wearing any jewelry, piercings, dark colored nail polish and cosmetics. If you wear contacts, we advise you to leave them at home and bring your eyeglasses and case with you. If you have dentures, you may wear them to the center. We may ask you to remove them, so be prepared for that. We have cups you can use for temporary storage, or feel free to bring your own denture cup.
What should I do with my clothes and additional belongings?
A nurse will escort you into the pre-operative area where you will change your clothes. Your belongings will be safely stored in a belongings bag until you are ready to go home. We recommend that you leave all valuables and additional accessories at home.
What happens after I check-in?
Once you have changed, a nurse will conduct a brief pre-operative assessment that will include a review of all your pre-operative information, taking of your vital signs and starting an IV. The nurse will ask you some questions, possibly questions you have already answered on your various forms. We need to verify all of your information and so some questions may seem repetitive.
Can my family be with me in the pre-operative area? In order to protect the privacy of other patients, your family members will be asked to remain in the lobby waiting area. Endoscopy procedures are usually very quick, so they won’t be waiting long. Your family member will be asked to come to the bedside after your procedure for discharge instructions.
Will I see my physician prior to surgery?
The physician will see you and speak to your briefly in the procedure room, prior to starting the procedure
What if I think I might be pregnant?
Please be sure to notify your physician and/or nurse prior to the date of your procedure if you think you may be pregnant.
Can I smoke?
We advise against smoking on the day of your procedure. Smoking may interfere with the sedation and frequently produces nausea during the recovery period.


Are there different kinds of sedation or anesthesia?
Yes. There are five different categories of sedation and anesthesia:
  • Conscious Sedation
  • General Anesthesia
  • Regional Anesthesia
  • Monitored Anesthesia Care
  • Local Anesthesia.
At Alfa Surgery Center, we only provide Conscious Sedation for our endoscopy procedures
May I request the type of anesthesia I will receive?
No. Alfa Surgery Center provides only Conscious Sedation. You may request no sedation but this should be discussed with your physician at your office visit PRIOR to scheduling your procedure
Why must I refrain from eating and/or drinking prior to my procedure?
Having foods or liquids in your stomach prior to being sedated increases your risk of aspiration (stomach contents being pulled into lungs). This can be very serious. Following your instructions on not eating and drinking is extremely important to your safety.

After Your Procedure:

What happens immediately after my procedure is finished?
You will be rolled into the recovery room on a gurney. The recovery room nurse will assess you and take your vital signs. You may be asked to roll to your back and the gurney moved to a sitting position in an effort to make you more comfortable. The nurse will assist you in waking up from your sedation by asking you questions and talking to you.
Will I be in pain?
Most endoscopy procedure patients feel absolutely no pain whatsoever. The biggest thing patients notice after a colonoscopy is the passing of gas. After an upper endoscopy, they may feel a bit bloated or like belching. Your nurse will encourage you to pass gas to allow that air to escape. This will help you with any mild discomfort you may have related to bloating/gas.
How long will I stay after my procedure?
Most patients are able to go home within 30 minutes after their procedure, so long as they are stable. Your family member will be asked to come to the recovery area where they will be given your discharge instructions. Because you have had sedation, you may not remember all the details of your visit, recovery, and discharge instructions. Your family member will sign a copy of your instructions and they may assist you in dressing, if you wish. Your nurse will ask them to get the car and will place you in a wheelchair. You will be taken out to the car for discharge from the center via wheelchair.
Will the doctor give me my results before I leave?
No but you will have some information on your discharge instructions about your procedure, specifically if any tissue samples were taken. If tissue samples were sent, you can get the results from your doctor at the office within 10-14 days. If your procedure was completely unremarkable or “normal”, you will be advised of that and you may require no further follow up for an extended period of time. Your physician and recovery room nurse will give you any information you need about follow up, lab specimens etc on your discharge instructions.
What happens after I go home?
Your discharge instructions will be very thorough and can help you and your family member care for you after your procedure. Remember! You need someone to stay with you the remainder of the day following your procedure. Because you had sedation, you should not be left alone. Rest the remainder of the day – your discharge instructions will inform you about returning to eating, work, etc. They will also include any information necessary for following up with the doctor (if necessary).
Should I continue my usual medications after surgery?
Most patients should continue their usual medications after surgery. Patients who have diabetes and those patients on blood thinners may require some adjustment of their medications. These instructions will be clarified with you before you leave the facility and written on your discharge instructions. If you have any questions, please call your primary care physician or procedure physician.

Patient Forms

The following forms can be downloaded to your computer and printed at home. By filling out these forms ahead of time you will save significant time at the time of your visit. If you have any questions when filling out these forms, please do the best you can, our staff will assist you with your questions on the day of your visit.

Please printout and complete the appropriate forms:

Note: The above documents are in Adobe® PDF format. They require Adobe Reader to be viewed. If you do not have Adobe Reader, you can download it for free by clicking here.

Clear Liquid Diet information

If you are preparing to have a colonoscopy, your doctor has prescribed you a medication to prepare your bowel for the procedure. In addition to the medication, you may need to follow a clear liquid diet for 1-2 days prior to your procedure to aid in cleansing your bowel. Following these instructions is crucial to the success of your procedure. If your bowel preparation is incomplete, the physician may not be able to visualize everything necessary and your procedure could be postponed.

Foods/Drinks Allowed for “CLEAR LIQUID DIET”
    • Tea: Regular or decaffeinated
    • Carbonated beverages: no brown, red, or purple liquids
    • Fruit flavored drinks: no brown, red or purple liquids
    • Fruit juices (Strained only!): apple, white grape, no pulp lemonade
  • CLEAR FLAVORED GELATIN/JELL-O (no red or purple flavors)
  • MISC: Popsicles (no red or purple), sugar, honey, syrup, clear hard candies, salt

Foods/Drinks to Avoid:

We also recommend that colonoscopy patients avoid foods containing seeds for 3 days prior to the

Insurance / Billing

We are dedicated to providing the best care and service to our patients and understanding your financial responsibility is an essential element of quality care and treatment.

It is important that you understand your insurance plan coverage and what, if any, financial responsibilities you may have before/after having this procedure. Please contact your insurance company and inform them that you plan on having a procedure at Alfa Surgery Center, an Outpatient Ambulatory Endoscopy Center . Some important questions to ask:
  • Is this a covered benefit?
  • Do I have screening benefits?
  • Are there any limitations to my policy regarding the procedure I am having?
  • Will I have any deductible, co-pay or co-insurance responsibilities according to my policy?

It is strongly advised for you to contact your Insurance Company and inquire about the benefits you are entitled to for the prescribed procedure.

Please understand that a "covered benefit" does not mean that the insurance company will be paying the full price of the procedure. In the event a plan considers a service "non-covered" the patient will be responsible for the entire charge.

When you arrive at Alfa Surgery Center in Chula Vista, we will ask to make copies of your insurance cards, please bring both your primary and secondary cards. This is important to keep a copy in our facility chart and we also forward the information along with any biopsies to expedite the billing at outside laboratories. We will be collecting your co-pay/deductible prior to your procedure. As a courtesy, the remainder will be billed to your insurance company. Please be aware that you will be responsible for any balance after the insurance company has paid

We will make every attempt to collect from your insurance company, however, if we do not receive payment after 3 billings, you will receive a statement and you must notify your insurance company directly.

After your procedure you will receive up to 3 separate bills for your procedure:
  • You will receive a bill from Alfa Surgery Center. This is the facility fee for your procedure and takes the place of an outpatient hospital bill. This fee includes the charge for the room, medication, staff and materials, etc.
  • You will also receive a bill from the Physician's office that performed your procedure; this is for the professional component of your procedure.
  • You may receive a bill from the laboratory and/or pathologist if there were any biopsies taken during the procedure. If you have any questions regarding this bill please contact the number on the statement, we do not have any control over these bills.

Self Pay / Cash Patients:

Self-pay patients are welcome at our center; please make arrangements with your physician prior to the exam regarding an agreed price for your procedure. You must inform our staff immediately upon arrival about your self-pay status and present payment prior to your procedure.

If you decide to present our office with your insurance card instead of the self-pay payment, this agreed price would be void.

Please contact our billing office if you have further questions. Their phone number is 619-425-2737. Please call Monday thru Friday, 8:00 am-4:30 pm. They are closed on weekends and major holidays.