Sigmoidoscopy

Sigmoidoscopy

Sigmoidoscopy is a procedure used to see inside the sigmoid colon and rectum. The sigmoid colon is the area of the large intestine nearest to the rectum. A sigmoidoscopy procedure may be suggested if someone is experiencing abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, blood, mucus or pus in the stool, and unexplained weight loss.

How is it performed?

 

  • An hour before the procedure, the patient is given an enema to empty their bowels or they might be recommended a laxative the night before.
  • The patient lies on their left side with their knees drawn up to their chest.
  • The doctor gently places a gloved and lubricated finger into the patient’s rectum to check for blockage and gently enlarges (dilates) the anus. This is called a digital rectal exam.
  • Next, a cleaned sigmoidoscope is placed through the anus. The scope is a flexible tube with a camera at its end.
  •  The scope is gently moved into the colon. Air is inserted into the colon to enlarge the area and help the doctor view the area better.
  • Often, the images are seen in high definition on a video monitor.
  • The doctor may take tissue samples with a tiny biopsy tool or a thin metal snare inserted through the scope. Heat may be used to remove polyps.
  • Sigmoidoscopy using a rigid scope may be done to treat problems of the anus or rectum.

 

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