At Colon and Rectal Surgical Specialists of New York, our doctors proudly use a range of advanced tools to diagnose gastrointestinal conditions. A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which your doctor will use a small lighted scope to examine your lower large intestine. This diagnostic procedure may be appropriate if you are suffering from a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms. It is also one of the most common ways to screen for colon cancer. When you undergo a flexible sigmoidoscopy at our Garden City, NY, office or one of our other area locations, you will receive sensitive and discreet care. If we detect anything unusual during your test, our highly experienced doctors can recommend an appropriate treatment.
What Is a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy?
During a flexible sigmoidoscopy, your doctor will examine your anus and lower colon. The sigmoidoscope is a small, lighted tube. It is about 60 cm long and approximately half an inch thick. Your doctor will gently insert the scope into your anus, and the camera on the end will project images onto a computer monitor. In this way, your surgeon can look for ulcers, internal bleeding, and related problems.
The sigmoidoscopy procedure is simple. It lasts about 20 minutes and typically does not require anesthesia.
What to Expect during a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
Before your sigmoidoscopy, you will need to perform a cleanse to empty out your colon. Your physician will provide specific instructions for your preparation. In general, however, you will need to take laxatives and enemas the day before your procedure. You may also need to eat a liquid diet to ensure that there is nothing solid in your intestines. In some cases, we may modify the preparatory process.
The sigmoidoscopy procedure is simple. It lasts about 20 minutes and typically does not require anesthesia. You will lie on your side, and your doctor will gently insert the sigmoidoscope. Then he or she will very carefully guide the scope through your rectum and into your lower colon. The device will pump air into your intestines so that your doctor can obtain a better view. He or she may ask you to move so that he can observe different areas of your colon on the monitor.
Immediately after your sigmoidoscopy, you may experience some cramping or bloating. However, these symptoms should typically go away in about an hour. You can immediately return to your regular routine and resume a normal diet.
The Importance of Undergoing a Sigmoidoscopy
If you are suffering from rectal bleeding, chronic diarrhea, changes in bowel movements, abdominal pain, or similar symptoms, we will often recommend a sigmoidoscopy. These symptoms can often indicate a serious condition, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or anal ulcers, among others. A sigmoidoscopy can help us to diagnose such problems and provide dramatic relief.
Our doctors also use this test to perform routine cancer screenings after age 50. If your doctor sees any cause for concern, he or she may order additional testing, such as a colonoscopy. If needed, your physician may take a biopsy during your sigmoidoscopy. During this process, he or she will remove any abnormal tissue for testing. Because colorectal cancer is easiest to treat in the initial stages, a flexible sigmoidoscopy could have lifesaving effects.
Contact Us to Schedule This Important Test
If you are suffering from gastrointestinal irregularities, or if you have not had a routine cancer screening in some time, contact our office today to book your flexible sigmoidoscopy.