A new device, called a flexible sigmoidoscope, a 24 inch long thin flexible tube which contains a tiny color video camera is now used. This allows your doctor to perform a much more accurate and comfortable examination.
- Your cooperation is essential for a successful and complete examination.
- Your colon must be empty during flexible sigmoidoscopy so that your doctor’s view is not blocked by particles of stool.
- This will require a special dietary and laxative preparation the day before the test.
- Detailed preparation instructions will be provided by the office staff.
- Be sure your doctor knows if you are taking insulin injections.
- On the day of examination, wear comfortable easily–folded clothing that is simple to remove.
- Prior to the test, you will be asked to remove your clothing and to slip into a patient gown.
- Then, after a consent form is signed, you will be positioned comfortably on your left side on the padded examination table.
- The doctor will then do a rectal exam with a gloved, lubricated finger; then the lubricated scope will be gently inserted. This will not be painful, but is mildly uncomfortable for a few seconds.
- After the scope is positioned, the doctor will gently guide the flexible scope into the colon and examine the lining.
- To improve his view, your doctor will gently infuse air into the colon.
- This may cause a temporary sensation of abdominal fullness, cramping, or “Gas,” but the entire procedure should take less than three minutes.
- After the exam, you will be allowed to dress and have a glass of juice.
- The doctor will then explain to you exactly what was found and if any further tests or treatment will be necessary.
- Since this test does not require anesthesia, you will be able to immediately resume a regular diet and activities.
- Eat lightly at first, and then advance your diet as tolerated. Since air was placed in the colon during the examination, you may feel a little bloated and crampy until the extra air is expelled.
If The Test Is Normal
Of course, since the flexible sigmoidoscope is only 2 feet long and the average colon is 5 feet long, not all of the colon is examined during this procedure. But, flexible sigmoidoscopy does allow examination of the area where the majority of colon cancer, polyps, and other problems are found. You must realize that this test is a simple screening exam and it is possible that problems further inside the colon may be missed. Your doctor may ask you to do further investigations.
- Colon cancer.
- Rectal bleeding.
- Perforation of the colon (a tear through the bowel wall).
- Hepatitis C.