Flexible simoidscopy is a commonly performed outpatient procedure that allows your Arlington gastroenterologist to examine the lining of the rectum and a portion of the colon (large intestine) by using an endoscope. The endoscope is a lighted, flexible tube that is connected to an eyepiece or video screen, allowing your doctor to carefully examine the area in question. The colon is roughly five to six feet long and during the simoidscopy procedure the last one to two feet of the colon is examined. This portion of the colon, which is located just above the rectum, is called the sigmoid colon. The tube used for the sigmoidscopy is about the thickness of your finger and is inserted into the anus and slowly advanced into the rectum and lower portion of the colon.
During the procedure, an image of the bowel is transmitted to a video screen. There is also an open portion of the endoscope that allows your gastroenterologist to pass other instruments through it to take tissue samples (bioposies) or remove polyps and other abnormalities.
Uses for Flexible Sigmoidscopy
This procedure is performed by your Arlington, Texas gastroenterologist to diagnose the cause of certain symptoms, or as a preventative measure to detect problems at an early stage. Here are some of the reasons for performing a sigmoidscopy:
- Bleeding – Rectal bleeding is extremely common and is often caused by hemorrhoids or by a small tear at the anus. Bleeding may also be caused by benign polyps or rectal or colon cancers
- Diarrhea – If a patient is experiencing persistent diarrhea a sigmoidscopy may need to be performed. There are numerous reasons for diarrhea, and this exam will help determine the specific cause
- Pain – If a patient is experiencing pain or discomfort around the rectum, anus, or lower abdomen, it may be due to hemorrhoids, anal tears, or tumors
- Early Detection – Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers and it is also extremely curable if detected early. Many gastroenterologists recommend a sigmoidscopy be performed after the age of 40 or 50 to ensure there are no colon polyps or colon cancer
Before the Procedure
It is important for the rectum and colon to be very clean for this procedure, which will allow the gastroenterologist to more accurately examine the area. Therefore it is recommended that patients drink only clear liquids in the days leading up the procedure. It may also be required for patients to take a laxative or enema in order to ensure the area is clean. Specific instructions will be provided by your Arlington gastroenterologist before the procedure.
During the Procedure
As mentioned, this is an outpatient procedure and is typically performed with the patient lying on the left side with the legs drawn up. The patient will be sedated and the endoscope is gently inserted int he rectum. You may experience slight discomfort, which is due to the air that inflated into the bowel to expand it, allowing for a more detailed examination.