Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to examine the rectum and a portion of the colon (large intestine). A flexible scope is slowly advanced through the anus to the lower part of the colon. The risks, benefits, and possibility of complications will be discussed with you by your doctor prior to your procedure.

Your lower colon must be completely empty for the procedure to be accurate, so your doctor will tell you what colon cleansing product to use when your Sigmoidoscopy is scheduled.

This procedure can be done with or without sedation, and this will be determined by you, and in consultation with, your doctor. If you don't have sedation, your doctor will tell you when to resume your normal diet and activities, right after the procedure.

If you are having sedation for your Sigmoidoscopy, the stomach should be completely empty. You should have nothing to eat or drink for at least 6 hours prior to your procedure. This includes water, gum, and/or mints. Your physician will instruct you regarding the time to begin fasting depending on the time of your procedure. You may brush your teeth, but do not swallow the water. You must make arrangements to have someone drive you home. Sedation can affect your judgment and reflexes for the entire day. You will not be able to drive, drink alcohol, or operate machinery until the next day.

Prior to the procedure, you will have an intravenous inserted. Your nurse will obtain a full medical history from you including medical conditions, medications you take, and family history. You will be brought to the procedure room on a stretcher and a heart monitor, blood pressure cuff and pulse oximetry monitor will be placed. You will also receive oxygen through a small tube under your nose. Once you are positioned and monitored, sedation will be administered through your intravenous by our Anesthesiologist. You will drift off to sleep before your Sigmoidoscopy begins.

Once the procedure is complete you will awaken quickly and remain in the Post Anesthesia Care Suite until you are ready to go home, usually within 1-11/2 hours. You may feel bloated following the exam due to the air/water introduced through the scope during the exam. This should pass quickly when you pass gas. Your physician will explain the results to you after your procedure or at your follow up visit. If your physician takes specimens during the procedure (called biopsies), you will have no sensation or pain at the time. If your doctor finds polyps, which are growths in the lining of your colon, they may be biopsied or removed. Polyps known as "hyperplastic" might not require removal, but polyps known as "adenomas" have a small risk of becoming cancerous. If you have an ademomatous polyp, your doctor will most likely ask you to have a Colonoscopy – a complete examination of your colon – to remove any large polyps or small adenomas, and to search for additional polyps that may be in other areas of the colon. This tissue will be evaluated by the laboratory and you can expect to hear results from your physician within a week.

Following are instructions which will also be given to you by your doctor. Please review them and follow them as directed.

On the day of your procedure: Plan to arrive at the time designated by your physician.

  • Please bring your insurance card, Photo ID, insurance co-pay and all forms completed.
  • Please do not apply lotion before the procedure.
  • Please come accompanied by another adult or plan for a ride home – you will not be able to drive for 24 hours following sedation.
  • Please bring a list of your medications you are currently taking with the dosage and times including vitamins and herbal supplements.
  • If you take blood thinners, aspirin, Motrin, anti-inflammatory medication, notify your physician prior to your procedure.
  • If you are taking Blood Pressure medication, heart medication or seizure medication – you make take that in the morning with a sip of water.
  • Diabetic patients – Consult your PCP regarding medication the day of the procedure – your blood sugar level will be taken the day of the procedure.
  • Parking is available in the parking garage.
  • If you have any medical questions, please contact your doctor.