Flexible sigmoidoscopy enables the physician to look at the inside of the large intestine from the rectum through the last part of the colon, called the sigmoid or descending colon.
What is a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a procedure similar to a colonoscopy, but it is only used to examine the lower third of the colon. If polyps are detected in the lower colon using a flexible sigmoidoscopy, a separate colonoscopy will be necessary to evaluate the rest of the colon.
How to I prepared for a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
The standard prep for a flexible sigmoidoscopy is usually to cleanse the lower colon by using a series of phosphate enemas.
Do I receive sedation?
No, because a flexible sigmoidoscopy only examines the lower colon. In all, the procedure takes about three-to-five minutes. You may feel some discomfort (air is used to inflate the colon), but any discomfort will be temporary and mild.
What are the risks?
The risks of undergoing a flexible sigmoidoscopy are similar to the risks involved with a colonoscopy. But since no sedation is used for this procedure, there is no risk of an allergic reaction to medications.