Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

This is also called flexi-sig and is a short (70cms) fairly narrow, very flexible tube for examining the inside of the rectum and lower colon.

 How is it used? The tube is passed into the bowel through your anus or back passage. It takes about 3-5 minutes to do the test and although it can be a bit uncomfortable for some patients, it is more acceptable than the older steel rigid instrument, which only looks inside your rectum and perhaps the lower part of your sigmoid colon.

Where is the examination done? It can be done without any sedation in an out-patient clinic with minimal cleansing of the bowel. The cleansing is usually done at home using an enema sent through the post with your hospital appointment. Older patients may need help from a relative or a district nurse, which can be arranged by their GP. If it is not possible to have an enema, the hospital clinician will be able to do the examination, often very successfully even without preparation in most patients.

How good is it? It is an excellent initial examination of patients with one of the three key symptoms and in most patients, if this is normal no other tests are immediately necessary. It is also being introduced for screening people between 55 to 65 years old.
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