Patient Information Leaflet

FLEXIBLE SIGMOIDOSCOPY


FLEXIBLE SIGMOIDOSCOPY

WHAT IS FLEXIBLE SIGMOIDOSCOPY?

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a procedure that enables your endoscopist to examine the lining of the rectum and lower colon (bowel). A lubricated soft, bendable tube about the thickness of the index finger is gently inserted into the anus (rectal opening) and moved into the rectum and the lower part of the colon.

WHY IS FLEXIBLE SIGMOIDOSCOPY PERFORMED?

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy is often done as part of a routine screening for cancer for patients over 50 years old, before some surgeries, or to evaluate the causes of symptoms (such as diarrhea, bleeding, colitis, changes in bowel habits and, changes in stool form or color). Flexible Sigmoidoscopy is also used as a screening tool for patients whose families have a history of colorectal cancer.

WHAT PREPARATION IS REQUIRED?

The rectum and lower colon must be completely emptied of stool for the procedure to be performed. One or two enemas prior to the procedure is all that is necessary, but laxatives or dietary modifications may be recommended by your doctor in certain instances. The use of medication such as aspirin, nonsteroidal anti‐inflammatories, and blood thinners should be discussed with your doctor prior to the examination.

WHAT CAN BE EXPECTEDEXPECTED DURING FLEXIBLEFLEXIBLE SIGMOIDOSCOPY? SIGMOIDOSCOPY

You will be awake during the procedure. Occasionally, the doctor may give you some light sedation. The procedure is well tolerated and rarely causes discomfort. Air is injected to distend or widen the passage. This may cause a feeling of pressure, bloating, or cramping during the procedure. The procedure usually lasts for five to fifteen minutes. Sometimes a biopsy is taken and submitted to laboratory for analysis.

WHAT COMPLICATIONS CAN OCCUR?

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy and biopsy are safe, complications can occur sometimes.
  • These include Bloating and abdominal discomfort which last for few hours.
  • You may pass a small amount of blood from your anus if a biopsy was taken, or a polyp was removed. Occasionally, the colonoscopemay cause damage to the colon. This may cause bleeding,( severe bleeding may occur in less than 1: 300 cases, which can require a blood transfusion and even less commonly surgery)
  • Perforation( tear in the lining of the bowel). This is an uncommon complication occurring in approximately 1 in 1000 cases, however risk increases if polypectomy or other therapy is performed. This may sometimes require an operation to repair the damage.
  • If any of the following occur within 48 hours after a colonoscopy, it is important that you consult a doctor immediately.
    • abdominal pain. (In particular if it becomes gradually worse, and is different or more intense to any 'usual' pains that you may have.)
    • fever (raised temperature).
    • passing a lot of blood from the back passsage.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER FLEXIBLE SIGMOIDOSCOPY?

Your doctor will explain the results to you and discuss any findings. You may have some mild cramping or bloating from the air that was placed into the colon during the examination. This should quickly improve with the passage of gas. You should be able to eat and resume normal activities after the procedure.