Eisenhower Army Medical Center
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Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

After careful medical assessment, your doctor has recommended that you have a flexible sigmoidoscopy. During this procedure a flexible fiberoptic tube (flexible sigmoidoscope) is passed through the rectum into the lower intestinal tract. This procedure allow the doctor to examine the lining of the lower large intestines (sigmoid and descending colon) so as to identify any abnormalities.

You will be asked to sign a consent form authorizing the doctor to perform the procedure. As you lay on your left side the doctor will examine your rectum with a gloved lubricated finger. Then he will insert the lubricated flexible sigmoidoscope into your rectum. Pressure in your colon may give you a mild sensation of wanting to move your bowels. The doctor will carefully advance the sigmoidoscope through the colon and examine the bowel lining thoroughly. You may feel some cramping like gas pains due to air that the doctor may be putting into your colon during the procedure. You may be asked to change positions during the procedure.

Sometimes a biopsy specimen (small piece of tissue) may be taken for microscopic examination. You will not feel any sensation of discomfort when the biopsy is performed. If a polyp is found it may be biopsied and a piece sent to the laboratory for examination by the pathologist. If it is found to be a type of polyp that could become cancerous in the future then your gastroenterologist should schedule you for a colonoscopy.

The doctor will provide you with written report and instructions when you go home. Please feel free to ask the doctor or GI nurse or technician any questions you may have.