Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a minimally-invasive diagnostic procedure aimed at identifying problems in the lower part of the large intestine and the anus. GastroMed is a leading provider of flexible sigmoidoscopy, using state state-of-the-art technology to diagnose and manage treatment in patients from throughout the Miami, FL, area.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a minimally-invasive diagnostic procedure that uses a long, thin, flexible scope to see inside the lower portion of the colon (the large intestine) and the rectum. The colon is a long tube that has four curves or “bends.” The area from the anus or rectum through the first bend in the pelvic area is called the sigmoid colon; the portion up to the next bend in the middle of the belly is called the descending colon, and the remaining portions are called the transverse colon, the ascending colon and the cecum. A colonoscopy examines the entire length of the colon, from the rectum to the cecum, while a flexible sigmoidoscopy only examines the rectum, sigmoid colon and descending colon. Sigmoidoscopies are usually used to help determine the cause of rectal bleeding or to diagnose the cause of diarrhea, belly pain or unexplained weight loss. The exams can also be used to look for polyps in the first portion of the colon and in or near the anus, and to evaluate hemorrhoids.
Prior to the sigmoidoscopy, the patient will receive a sedative through an IV to help them relax and doze through the procedure. The patient will lie on his or her side on the exam table and, once the sedative takes effect, the scope will be gently passed through the anus and into the rectum and first portions of the colon. An inert gas is usually pumped into the colon to help expand it so it’s easier to view the lining. In addition to evaluating the structure and lining of the colon and rectum, polyps can be removed during the procedure and small tissue samples (biopsies) may be removed for further evaluation in a lab. Most flexible sigmoidoscopy procedures can be completed in 15 to 20 minutes.
Once the exam is complete, most patients feel groggy until the sedation completely wears off. Patients will spend a little time in a recovery area before being discharged. Because a sedative is used, patients should arrange to have someone else drive them home.
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