Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Also known as: flexible sigmoidoscopy, flex sig.

What is flexible sigmoidoscopy?

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a procedure used to examine the rectum and the lower third of the colon. It involves inserting a long, flexible tube known as a sigmoidoscope that has a light and camera on it into the rectum.

What happens during the procedure?

  • The patient lies on his or her side or on his or her back, while the flexible sigmoidoscope is inserted into the anus.
  • Air can be put into the rectum and colon through the sigmoidoscope in order to assist it in moving through the colon comfortably.
  • Biopsies, which are little pieces of tissue, can be taken from these parts of the body and certain problems can be treated through the sigmoidoscope at the time of the procedure.
  • Images produced by the sigmoidoscope are visible to the medical professionals on a separate monitor.

Is any special preparation needed?

You may need to avoid food, drink or medication for a set period of time before the procedure. You may also need laxative or enemas to clear the bowels before the procedure.

What are the risk factors?

Bleeding, infection, pain or perforation of the colon are potential complications of flexible sigmoidoscopy.


Reviewed by: Carrie Firestone Baum, MD

This page was last updated on: April 22, 2021 01:38 PM

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