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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 22, Issue 6, Pages 565-570
Original Article

The Costs of Colonoscopy in a Canadian Hospital using a Microcosting Approach

Nour Sharara,1 Viviane Adam,1 Ralph Crott,2 and Alan N Barkun1

1Divisions of Gastroenterology and Clinical Epidemiology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
2Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Catholic University of Louvain, Brussels, Belgium

Received 18 February 2008; Accepted 10 April 2008

Copyright © 2008 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: Colonoscopy has become accepted as one of the most effective methods of screening patients for colorectal cancer, and is used to remove the majority of colonic adenomas.

OBJECTIVE: Because of the paucity of such estimates in the literature and the significant number of candidates for this procedure, the present study was performed to estimate the direct hospital costs of both diagnostic and therapeutic (polypectomy) colonoscopy.

METHODS: A microcosting methodology was used to itemize the costs of colonoscopy. Variable and fixed costs were divided into labour, supplies, equipment and overhead costs. A third-party payer perspective was adopted. All costs are expressed in 2007 Canadian dollars.

RESULTS: The cost of a diagnostic colonoscopy was $157 and the cost of a therapeutic colonoscopy was $199. Overhead costs represented approximately 30% of these amounts. When physician fees were added, these costs rose to $352 and $467, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Because the overhead costs represent a large proportion of the total costs, allocation methods for these costs should be improved to allow for a more precise determination of the total costs of a colonoscopy. These estimates are useful when analyzing the cost-effectiveness of a strategy that uses colonoscopy when screening for colorectal cancer.