Regional Gastrointestinal Consultants

Sigmoidoscopy

Sigmoidoscopy

What is a Sigmoidoscopy

A flexible sigmoidoscopy (sig moi-DOS-kuh-pee) is an exam takes about 5 to 10 minutes, and is used to evaluate the lower part of the large intestine (colon). During a flexible sigmoidoscopy exam, a thin, flexible tube (sigmoidoscope) is inserted into the rectum. A tiny video camera at the tip of the tube allows the doctor to view the inside of the rectum and most of the sigmoid colon, which is about the last two feet (61 centimeters) of the large intestine. If necessary, tissue samples (biopsies) can be taken through the scope during a flexible sigmoidoscopy exam. Flexible sigmoidoscopy doesn’t allow the doctor to see the entire colon. As a result, any cancers or polyps farther into the colon can’t be detected with flexible sigmoidoscopy alone.

Sigmoidoscopy is used to examine the Lower Gastrointestinal Tract, Rectum, Sigmoid Descending Colon and is extremely useful in screening for asymptomatic patients and cancer. Evaluation for Chronic and Acute disease; monitor of activity of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in unprepped patients; to rule out a Volvulus and correct same; and evaluate for bleeding that is usually bright red and minor are also useful screening results which can be obtained. Sigmoidoscopy is one option for colon cancer screening, but there are other options that allow visualization of the whole colon. Talk with your doctor about your options, such as a colonoscopy.

What Happens During a Sigmoidoscopy

During the sigmoidoscopy, the patient is positioned on their side on the examination with elective sedation. While the doctor inserts a sigmoidoscope into your anus and slowly guides it through your rectum and into your sigmoid colon. The scope pumps air into your large intestine to give the doctor a better view. The camera sends a video image of your intestinal lining to a monitor, allowing the doctor to examine the tissues lining your sigmoid colon and rectum. The doctor may ask you to move several times on the table to adjust the scope for better viewing. Once the scope has reached your transverse colon, the doctor slowly withdraws it and examines the lining of your sigmoid colon again.

During the procedure, your doctor may remove polyps and send them to a lab for testing. Colon polyps are common in adults and are harmless in most cases. However, most colon cancer begins as a polyp, so removing polyps early is an effective way to prevent cancer. If your doctor finds abnormal tissue, he or she may perform a biopsy. You won’t feel the biopsy. If your doctor found polyps or other abnormal tissue during a flexible sigmoidoscopy, your doctor may suggest you return for a colonoscopy.

WHAT TO EXPECT when having a sigmoidoscopy

First, when you arrive at our office you will be welcomed by our thoughtful staff and a dedicated team of experts that deliver personalize care. To add to your comfort level, we strive to keep the same physicians and nursing staff with the patient throughout all your appointments at the center. In this way, the staff gets to understand the patient’s concerns and conditions, and you get to know the persons taking care of you on a personal level.

Also, we strive to make your visit as hassle free as possible. We accurately schedule visits in advance, provide convenient onsite parking, and keep your waiting period to an absolute minimum. This is achieved by the fact that no emergency procedures are placed in front of your scheduled time (such as in most hospitals). Also, we do not double book patient appointments, when you are scheduled to be treated that time is assigned only to you.

When undergoing a sigmoidoscopy, the following will apply to your procedural visit:

  • Before any procedure our staff will meet with you to address any last-minute questions you may have.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight of the eve of your procedure date. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight of the eve of your procedure date, and about 9PM you may need to administer an enema to ensure that the anal rectal juncture is clear.
  • Prior to the procedure you will get changed into one our fresh medical gowns using our private restrooms, or a private patient changing area.
  • Once you have changed into the medical gown you will relax and laydown on a padded procedure gurney and you will be transported a short distance to our modern operating room.
  • In the operating room, you will meet with your gastroenterologist before your endoscopy to discuss the procedure, if you would like, and thereafter be administered sedation so that the procedure may commence.
    • When being sedated you will receive the highest quality anesthesia, administered by highly experienced professionals who will standby you monitoring your sedation throughout the entire procedure.
  • The procedure itself will take between 15 to 20 minutes.
  • After the procedure, you will be brought back into the post anesthesia recovery area where you will relax until the sedation has worn off.
    • After speaking with most patients about their procedure, patients universally comment (paraphrasing of course); “I remember getting changed, laying on the gurney, meeting with my doctor and waking up waiting for the procedure to start”. Once they find out the procedure was completed already, there is usually a couple chuckles they have with our staff.
  • With all that being said, once you are alert from your anesthesia, fully dressed and comfortable, you will meet with your physician to discuss the procedure results, before heading home.
    • A special note, because you will be sedated for the procedure, you will need to have someone to drive you home even after the sedation has initially worn off, though you may feel fine, your reflexes may be slower than usual until the anesthesia is completely out of your system which can take between 1 to 3 hours after the procedure.
  • Also, most patients can return to a normal eating habits immediately after an endoscopic procedure.

The most important thing to remember is not to worry! Our gastroenterologist are highly experienced physicians and we have completed thousands of sigmoidoscopies, also we supply our gastroenterologist with only the best equipment to increase safety, as well as diagnostic and treatment effectiveness. Last, but certainly not least, please ask any questions you may have of your healthcare team, who will be there for you during and after your procedure, and all of whom are dedicated to ensure you receive the best care possible.

IMPORTANT HEALTH NOTE

We recommend that people experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms do not attempt self-treatment. With many medications being available over the counter, and numerous do-it-yourself online unqualified remedy recommendation, it is natural to consider treating yourself but we highly recommend against this.

If you are experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms you may have a more significant issue than you would expect from the sometimes muted or infrequent symptom you may be experiencing. It is important to keep in mind that is you are having gastrointestinal symptoms or concerns it is best see a doctor to have those symptoms diagnosed and any conditions treated. Also, it is worth noting, that if health conditions do exist, the earlier they are diagnosed and treated, the greater the probability will be to successfully eliminate or manage a present condition, in fact successful outcomes will increase significantly with early detection.

If you have gastrointestinal concerns or are experiencing any gastrointestinal symptoms, please contact us promptly to schedule a consultation with a physician.


DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general information. In no way, does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a best in class physician regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today at (215) 321-4700 to schedule a consultation.