Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is an outpatient examination that allows doctors to view the lower portion of a patient’s colon and rectum (as opposed to a full evaluation of the colon with a colonoscopy).

How it Works

During a flexible sigmoidoscopy, the doctor inserts a small device called a sigmoidoscope into the rectum. The sigmoidoscope consists of a tiny camera and light mounted on the end of a flexible tube that passes through the rectum and into the colon, allowing for examination of the final two feet of the large intestine. The scope is shorter than a colonoscope and often the procedure can be done with a limited bowel prep and without sedation.  This may be beneficial under certain circumstances depending on the patient’s age, existing medical conditions, and symptoms of concern.  In addition to providing images of the lining of the lower (or sigmoid) colon, the sigmoidoscope can gather biopsies from the intestinal lining that are helpful in the diagnosis of colorectal cancersand other disorders.

Reasons for the Procedure

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is used to evaluate symptoms and disorders of the colon and rectum, such as rectal bleeding, bowel irritation, chronic diarrhea, and colorectal polyps. Because flexible sigmoidoscopy only allows visualization of the lower portion of the colon and rectum, it is usually used to evaluate particular symptoms in patients who do not require a colonoscopy otherwise.  Currently, a full colonoscopy is the preferred method of colon cancer screening for patients.

In some circumstances, flexible sigmoidoscopy with an x-ray study (dual air and contrast barium enema) evaluation every 5 years may be used to screen for colon cancer instead of a colonoscopy.  When polyps are encountered in the rectum or sigmoid colon (lower third of the colon), a full colonoscopy is generally indicated.  Abnormality on the x-ray study usually requires full colonoscopy as well.

Patient First Approach

The medical experts at Saleeby and Wessels Proctology provide a wide array of colorectal services to Triangle-area residents. Using a Patient-First approach, the doctors at Saleeby and Wessels give patients thorough diagnostic and treatment information using minimally invasive techniques geared towards your personal comfort and understanding of colorectal health.

If you are in need of colorectal services such as flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, contact Saleeby and Wessels today to learn how our seasoned and compassionate staff can serve you!