Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

What is a flexible sigmoidoscopy?

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a procedure that enables your physician to examine the lining of the rectum and a portion of the colon (large bowel) by inserting a flexible tube that is about the thickness of your finger into the anus and advancing it slowly into the rectum along the length of the lower part of the colon.

What preparation is required?

The rectum and lower colon must be completely empty of waste material for the procedure to be accurate and complete. Your physician will give you detailed instructions regarding the cleansing routine to be used. In general, preparation consists of one or two enemas prior to the procedure but may include laxatives or dietary modifications. In some circumstances, for example, if you have acute diarrhea or colitis, your physician may advise you to forego any special preparation before the examination.

What about my current medications?

Most medications can be continued as usual. You should inform you physician of all current medications as well as any allergies to medications or latex several days prior to the examination. However, drugs such as aspirin or anticoagulants (blood thinners) are examples of medications whose use should be discussed with your physician.

What can be expected during flexible sigmoidoscopy?

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is usually well tolerated. However, there is a feeling of pressure, bloating, or cramping during the procedure. In some cases your physician may give you medication through a vein to help you relax and better tolerate any discomfort from the procedure. You will be lying on your left side or on your back while the colonoscope is advanced slowly along the length of the rectum and sigmoid colon. As the instrument is withdrawn, the lining of the intestine is carefully examined. The procedure usually takes anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.

What if the procedure shows something abnormal?

If the physician sees an area that needs evaluation in greater detail, a biopsy (sample of the colon lining) may be obtained and submitted to a laboratory for further analysis. If polyps (growths from the lining of the colon) are found, they may be biopsied but are generally not removed at the time of the sigmoidoscopy. Your physician will likely request that you have a colonoscopy (a complete examination of the colon) to remove any large polyps that are found, or any small polyps that are found to be adenomatous after biopsy analysis.

What happens after a flexible sigmoidoscopy?

After sigmoidoscopy, the physician will explain the results to you. You may have some mild cramping or bloating sensation because of the air that has been passed into the colon during the examination. This will disappear quickly with the passage of gas. You should be able to eat and resume your normal activities after leaving your physician’s office or the hospital.

What are the possible complications of a flexible sigmoidoscopy?

Flexible sigmoidoscopy and biopsy are generally safe when performed by physicians who have been specially trained and are experienced in these endoscopic procedures. Complications after flexible sigmoidoscopy are rare. It is important for you to recognize early signs of any possible complication. Immediately contact your physician if you notice any of the following symptoms: severe abdominal pain, fevers and/or chills, or rectal bleeding of more than 1/2 cup. It is important to note that rectal bleeding can occur even several days after the biopsy. Small amounts of bleeding are not unusual after sigmoidoscopy, especially if one or more biopsies are taken.

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We’re proud of our team here at Digestive Health Institute. Our health care providers include some of the very best colorectal surgeons, gastroenterologists and physician assistants. To learn more about our qualified team of specialists, click their image or visit our providers page.

Radoslav Coleski, MD, PhD

Dorian Jones, MD

Lucas Julien, MD

Razvan Opreanu, MD

Scott Plaehn, DO, FACOI

Albert Ross, MD

John Walling, Jr., DO, FACOI

Siaka Yusuf, MD

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FAQs

What happens during my first visit?
If you are a new patient, you can expect to have a complete physical exam. You will also be asked detailed questions about your current problems and your past medical history, your current medications, allergies, your family history and other pertinent medical information. If you are taking medications, please bring a completed medical history form with you to your appointment. Once the physician has reviewed your medical information and completed the physical examination, a plan of care will be developed. You may need to be seen again in the office, be referred back to your family physician for follow-up care, or require additional testing. If additional tests are needed, we will assist you in scheduling these tests.
What if I need to schedule an endoscopic procedure?
An endoscopic procedure allows the physician to visualize a part of your gastrointestinal tract with a special instrument called an endoscope. If your family physician has ordered testing, you will be contacted by telephone by one of our staff members. If an Digestive Health Institute physician orders testing and you are in the office, the procedure can generally be scheduled during the course of your visit. You will be given a date, time, and location for the test, as well as written instructions telling you how to prepare for the test. If you have any questions about the procedure, please feel free to ask one of our staff members or the physician.
How do I get test results?
We ask that you wait 10 to 14 days before contacting us for results. Often results come from several different sources. This information needs to be compiled and reviewed by your physician before you can be appropriately advised. You may call 517-332-1200 and press “8″ and your call will be directed to the triage nurse.
What insurances do you accept?
Digestive Health Institute accepts payment from most insurance companies including Medicare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Blue Care Network, Physicians Health Plan, Cofinity, Sparrow Professional Health Network, Medicaid, McLaren, Health Plus, and several others. Accepted insurances are subject to change at any time without notice.

If your insurance requires an authorization from your primary care physician, you may be asked to assist us in obtaining this authorization.

All patients are responsible for all copays and deductibles at the time of service.

If you have any questions regarding your benefits or insurance coverage, please contact our Billing Department at 517-332-1200 #6.

What if I need to contact the doctor?
To contact your doctor during business hours please call our main number 517-332-1200. If you have an urgent need to speak with the doctor after hours please call our answering service at 517-483-9124 and the doctor on call will be paged. In the case of a medical emergency please proceed directly to the nearest hospital emergency room.

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