Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

  • A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a limited endoscopic procedure used to evaluate the left half of the colon. It is typically used to assess conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease but also may be used to evaluate rectal bleeding or examine a site where a polyp was previously removed during a colonoscopy. The limitation of this exam is that it does not examine the entire colon. Therefore, it is typically not recommended for routine colorectal cancer screening.
  •   The exam typically does not require sedation although moderate sedation may be provided. This is typically discussed with your physician prior to undergoing the exam. The exam usually takes no more than 10 minutes. If no sedation is required, you will be able to drive yourself home.
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy is very safe, but there are small risks involved. There is a very rare (1 in 15,000) risk of a colon perforation (a puncture in the lining of the colon) which may require surgery to repair. Other rare risks include bleeding after a polyp is removed and heart or lung complications following the anesthesia used for the procedure. Your physician will discuss with you the risks and benefits of the colonoscopy procedure before the procedure and will answer any questions.

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