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Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

What is a flexible sigmoidoscopy?

Flexible sigmoidoscopy uses a thin, flexible tube to examine the lower portion of the large intestine (the colon) and the rectum. As the endoscopist advances the tube through the lower part of the intestine, a video sensor in the tube transmits images to a television monitor.

Why would a doctor recommend a flexible sigmoidoscopy?

  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

    The instrument used for flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy.

    To check for polyps, or small growths that may lead to colon cancer
  • To diagnose inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
  • To investigate frequent diarrhea, rectal or intestinal bleeding, a change in bowel habits, or weight loss
  • To take a biopsy of a growth in the large intestine

What does a flexible sigmoidoscopy involve?

The endoscopist will guide the flexible scope into the lower part of the large intestine, and look at its lining. Because air is used to open the colon and create better images, you may feel like you need to have a bowel movement. If the doctor finds a growth in the intestine, he or she may use a tiny tool to take a biopsy, or tissue sample, to study later. This process is painless. The tube is then withdrawn.

The entire procedure takes only a few minutes.

How long is the recovery after a flexible sigmoidoscopy?

You may feel a little cramped and bloated until you pass the air that was introduced into your system. You will be able to resume regular activities immediately.

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