It is a procedure which like colonoscopy allows the doctors to take a look at the colon and identify any health concerns that might be worth addressing. Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a little different in its procedural aspects than colonoscopy. Instead of going for the whole length, it only allows the doctors to view a limited length of the colon which in this case is about a third of the whole colon. Any issues beyond that would need a colonoscopy for diagnosis.
What Is Flexible Sigmoidoscopy?
It uses a small flexible tube about half-inch in diameter which is inserted through the anus to observe the rectum and almost 60cm of the length of the large intestine. The tube has a small camera attached at one end which helps the doctors to get an inside view of the rectum and diagnose the issue at hand. The procedure, unlike colonoscopy, doesn’t require sedation and would only cause mild cramping during those 10 to 20 minutes the p Save rocedure is in progress.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common indications that would require the use of flexible sigmoidoscopy
- It helps with the screening of colon cancer. Together with fecal occult blood testing, they have helped in the detection of colon cancers and have saved a lot of lives in the process.
- It can also help investigate the cause of rectal bleeding
- It can also be used to identify tumours in the colon and extract samples of the tissue for biopsy purposes.
- It can be used before a rectal surgery so that doctors can evaluate the right method which can be used to make the surgery more successful
- It can also be used to perform many other procedures such as colon dilation, stent placement etc. These procedures can be carried out with a colonoscopy too
- Studying the previously diagnosed polyps in the affected regions.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy is used as an alternative to colonoscopy because it is a lot easier to perform and is less hard for the patients too. Without being sedated, the procedure is performed with the patient laying on his side and his legs drawn up to his chest. Within just 30 minutes, he would be free to go home with no major complications that he would have to worry about.
This is a rather safe procedure which makes poses no serious risks or complications for the patient after and during the procedure. Some of the common risks of flexible sigmoidoscopy are:
- Mild fever
- Little bit of rectal bleeding and that too only when the patient fails to cooperate
However, all these complications go away after a day or two and require no serious post-procedure care.
When going for flexible sigmoidoscopy, it is important to have your doctor know if the patient is pregnant, is suffering from some heart or lung problem or is diabetic. It helps the doctors take all the necessary precautions needed to make the procedure simple and less painful for the patient.