Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Sigmoidoscopy is the visual examination of the inside of the rectum and sigmoid colon, using a flexible rubber-like coated tube, about the thickness of a finger, inserted into the anus and advancing it slowly into the rectum. During a sigmoidoscopy, only the last 1 to 2 feet of the colon are examined.

What to Expect

One of our nurses will be contacting you two days prior to your procedure to obtain your medical history and review your preparation instructions. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have at that time.

You will be asked to sign a consent authorizing the procedure. Sedation is not usually required. Bloating and bowel distention is common during the procedure due to the air inflated into the bowel. If biopsies are done or if a polyp is removed, there may be some spotting of blood. However, this is rarely serious.

Please wear comfortable clothing and leave jewelry and other valuables at home. You will be asked to change into a patient gown.

During the Procedure

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is usually performed with the patient lying on the left side with the legs drawn up. When the endoscope is gently inserted into the rectum and colon, air is inflated into the bowel to expand it and allow for careful examination. The patient usually feels a slight discomfort similar to strong gas cramps. The instrument is advanced as far as possible without causing undue discomfort. The exam usually takes 5 to 15 minutes.

A biopsy (a tiny bit of tissue from the lining of the colon) may be taken for microscopic examination. You will feel no discomfort when the biopsy is done. The specimen is sent to a pathologist for examination

After the Procedure

Any discomfort following the procedure is generally limited to bloating and gas cramps. You should be able to eat and resume your normal activities after leaving the Center.

Finally, expect a courtesy call from one of our nurses, the day following your procedure.