The colon is one of the largest and most important organs in the body. It can also create a number of complications for individuals. Yet, because of its location and size, doctors can have trouble understanding what is happening within it. Procedures such as the flexible sigmoidoscopy can help to provide more detail into it. This procedure is generally an outpatient one that is minimally invasive yet can provide doctors at our Ocean Parkway or Cobble Hill locations in Brooklyn, NY with a great deal of information.
All you need to know about flexible sigmoidoscopy at Atlantic Gastroenterology
What Is a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy?
Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a shortened version of a colonoscopy. There are certain conditions especially in younger people such as rectal bleeds, that allow the endoscopists to quickly identify the problem in the part of the lower digestive tract, or the lower colon.
What Happens During a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy?
Flexible sigmoidoscopy is direct visualization of a special DD camera that allows the evaluation of the left side of the colon. This allows us an on-site evaluation.
The majority of bleeds, in the older population, are diabetical bleeds and in the younger population its hemorrhoids or rectal ulcers or early presentation of ulcer colitis.
Is Flexible Sigmoidoscopy painful?
This procedure is perfectly painless, can be done without sedation, and there is no advance preparation necessary.
Typically lasting about 2-3 minutes, it is fairly comfortable and allows very quick identification of lower digestive problems.
Though this procedure does not provide a complete view of the interior of the colon, it does provide a lot of information to your Brooklyn gastroenterologist. Your doctor may recommend that you have this procedure if you have any signs or symptoms of intestinal disease. These may include:
- Abdominal pain that’s not otherwise understood
- Changes in bowel habits
- Chronic diarrhea
- Other types of intestinal complications
In addition, this procedure, along with a colonoscopy, can be very important steps in the prevention and treatment of colon cancer. Those who are over the age of 50 are often recommended for this type of procedure even if you have no colon cancer risk in your family. You’ll also need to repeat this procedure every five years or so.
During the procedure, you will lie on your side on an exam table. You may be sedated for the procedure. The doctor will insert the scope into the rectum and colon. The sigmoidoscope has a small light on it that allows the doctor to navigate it through the colon that allows the doctor to see the lining of the colon more thoroughly. Air is also added to the colon to create a better visual. Visual images are taken at this time as well.
If necessary, your GI doctor in Brooklyn can also remove small tissue samples from the area. This includes removing a polyp. This tissue can then be examined more closely to determine if any abnormal cells exist. The entire procedure takes about 15 minutes to complete. If a polyp is found, your doctor may recommend that you have a full colonoscopy to ensure all polyps are removed. This can help in the prevention of cancer development. This procedure is not painful, but it can be uncomfortable. Your doctor will meet with you afterwards to discuss the results and offer any follow-up treatment necessary.