A colonoscopy can take between 30 and 60 minutes, states WebMD. It can take an additional hour to recover from the sedatives given for the procedure, and patients are considered legally impaired for 12 hours after sedation. A trusted person should accompany the patient home.
There is also preparation time required leading up to the procedure. Typically, the patient is not allowed to eat solid foods the day before the procedure and must stop drinking clear fluids three hours before the procedure, reports Mayo Clinic. Some doctors recommend the use of a laxative or enema to help clear the colon. Patients may also need to adjust certain medications up to a week before the operation.