Sigmoidoscopy is a diagnostic procedure used in gastroenterology. The definition of sigmoidoscopy simple means a medical examination of the sigmoid colon with a flexible tube which is inserted through the anus. A sigmoidoscopy is also called flexible sigmoidoscopy. A sigmoidoscopy is used also a general screening tool for colon cancer.

What is the difference between sigmoidoscopy vs colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy use a thin flexible tube with a camera at the end to look at the colon.  The difference between colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy is the portion of the colon viewed. Colonoscopy examines the entire colon, while sigmoidoscopy CAN ONLY view the left side of the colon. The latter is an easier procedure and sedation is not required. A colonoscopy detects a complete view of the colon which the sigmoidoscopy can miss and the preparation for the patient.

What is flexible sigmoidoscopy?

Flexible sigmoidoscopy (flexible endoscope) can be defined as a procedure by which a gastroenterologist examines the rectum and the lower (sigmoid) colon. It is flexible tube around 60 cm long with minimal thickness. During the procedure tissue sample are taken to diagnose ulcers, abnormal cells, polyps and cancer.

What is the sigmoidoscopy procedure?

Generally any patient who is complains of altered bowel habits, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain or unexplained weight loss can be advised a sigmoidoscopy.

  1. An enema or a laxative is given a few hours before the procedure to empty the bowels.
  2. After a medical examination you will asked to lie on your left side on an examination table and   a thin, flexible tube called a sigmoidoscope will be inserted into your anus.
  3. The procedure does not require anaesthesia.
  4. The sigmoidoscope has a light and a very small camera on the end so images can be transmitted onto a monitor for the gastroenterologist to view the details of the colon Air will also inflate your colon with to make it easier to examine from the tube. You might
  5. The procedure is not painful but you may feel uncomfortable. Procedure takes around mins and generally there are no complications, slight bleeding may occur.
  6. Small pieces of tissue might be removed for further examination and sent for investigation. Polys and growths are also looked for.
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