Sigmoidoscopy

Sigmoidoscopy

Sigmoidoscopy

Alternative Names: Proctoscopy, Proctosigmoidoscopy

A sigmoidoscopy, or protoscopy, is an examination of the inside of the rectum and the final (distal) part of the colon or large bowel. It is performed as a routine screening procedure and in suspected cases of bowel obstruction, colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), and diverticular disease. Before the test you will be given an enema. Then the doctor will examine your rectum with a gloved finger and insert a flexible fibre-optic instrument (sigmoidoscope), moving it through your rectum and colon. He may remove a small tissue sample (a biopsy) or perform other surgical procedures.

What is it?
Sigmoidoscopy is an examination of the inside of the rectum and the distal (final) part of the colon or large bowel.

Sigmoidoscopy is usually performed in hospital and takes about an hour.

Why is it done?
Sigmoidoscopy is done when considering diagnoses involving the last sections of the intestine (the distal colon and the rectum). It may be performed as a routine screening procedure. Common indications include:

  • Bowel obstruction
  • Colon cancer
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease)
  • Diverticular disease

What happens?

Before – how to prepare
You need to sign a consent form. You will be given an enema a few hours before the procedure, to clear the distal colon and rectum.

During – how the test is done
You will wear a hospital gown and lie on your side on an examination couch. Your doctor will first examine your rectum with a gloved finger (digital rectal examination). Then your doctor will insert the flexible sigmoidoscope (fibre-optic instrument) and advance it through your rectum and colon. Air may be passed through the sigmoidoscope to inflate your bowel and aid viewing. Biopsies (removal of small tissue samples) may be taken and certain other surgical procedures may be performed.

You may feel some discomfort, cramping, and sensations of pressure, during the procedure, but these are usually fairly mild.

After the test
You may have a feeling of fullness and an urge to defecate following the procedure.

Risks and Compilations
There is a small risk of damaging the bowel or causing bleeding.

Special Issues
Many experts recommend regular sigmoidoscopy as a screening procedure (mainly looking for cancerous or pre-cancerous change in the bowel) – it is best to discuss this with your doctor.

Short Description
A sigmoidoscopy, or protoscopy, is an examination of the inside of the rectum and the final (distal) part of the colon or large bowel.

Keywords
sigmoidoscopy, protoscopy, proctoscopy, proctosigmoidoscopy



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