Flexible Sigmoidoscopy in Ocean Springs, MS

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A flexible sigmoidoscopy is an endoscopic diagnostic technique where a thin, long, flexible tube, or “scope,” is placed into the rectum and advanced into the lower third of the large intestine. For this reason, the exam is limited since the entirety of the colon cannot be seen. The scope is equipped with a light and a camera at its end, allowing the specialist to examine the colon's lining. A sigmoidoscopy might be performed to:

  • Diagnose the cause of gastrointestinal symptoms, including:
    • Diarrhea
    • Unusual x-ray results
    • Bleeding
    • Abdominal pain
  • Screen for colon cancer and polyps.

Our skilled providers routinely perform flexible sigmoidoscopies for Ocean Springs, MS patients. If you are dealing with any concerning symptoms related to your gastrointestinal tract, such as those listed above, reach out to Digestive Health Center to learn if a flexible sigmoidoscopy might benefit you.

You will be given instructions from your provider regarding the necessary bowel preparation for your exam. Most people will be instructed to consume only clear liquids for the entire day, 24 hours preceding the exam. There are several distinct types of laxatives to cleanse the colon. It is essential to adhere to the directions given to you by your Digestive Health Center provider. In addition, there will be instructions regarding your medications. The majority of the time, medications will be taken as usual. However, sometimes, specifically in patients prescribed blood thinners (i.e., Plavix®, Coumadin®, warfarin, aspirin, anti-inflammatories) and in patients with diabetes, individual instructions will be given. You will be instructed not to ingest anything orally after midnight except for medications.

Plan to arrive at the endoscopy center 1 – 1.5 hours ahead of your flexible sigmoidoscopy. This will allow you adequate time to complete the necessary paperwork and prepare for the exam. You will be told to put on a hospital gown. In most cases, an IV will not be started since sedation is not typically given with this procedure. You may be connected to technology that will allow the staff and provider to monitor your pulse, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, oxygen levels, and electrocardiogram during and following the exam.

After you are inside the exam room, you will be asked to lie down on your left side on the procedure table. The provider will perform a rectal exam. The sigmoidoscope will then be slowly placed just inside the rectum. The scope will then be gently advanced through the sigmoid colon. A tiny bit of air is inserted through the scope and into the colon to help the provider see. Any fluid remaining in the colon post-preparation can be washed and suctioned out through the scope. Depending on the test's findings, several things can be performed during the procedure, including the removal of polyps, control of bleeding, and biopsies. After the exam, all possible remaining fluid and air are suctioned out of the colon through the scope. Depending on the findings, the test typically takes 5 – 15 minutes.

Because sedation is not generally necessary, once the procedure is complete, you will be able to change back into your clothes and will be discharged from the endoscopy unit. If sedation is not administered, you'll be permitted to perform your normal activities and drive. Most patients can drink and eat normally after their release from the endoscopy unit; however, you will be provided with individualized instructions related to activity, eating, and medications before discharge. Following the exam, the specialist or nurse will review the procedure's findings with you. You will also be sent home with a written report. You will be notified of any biopsy results in 7 days or less.

In most cases, a sigmoidoscopy is a very safe procedure. Overall, adverse side effects occur in less than 1% of cases. Typically, complications are not life-threatening; still, should a complication occur, it might require surgery and/or hospitalization. Before the exam, the staff will review a consent form with the patient. Should any questions or concerns arise, these should be discussed with the specialist before beginning the procedure.

Bleeding could occur with the removal of polyps and biopsies. To reiterate, a concerning amount of bleeding which might require a blood transfusion or hospitalization is very rare. Still, bleeding can happen at the time of the test or anytime within two weeks after the exam if a polyp is excised.

Puncture or perforation of the colon can take place. This can be noticed at the time of the exam, or it might not become apparent until a short time later. In most cases, a perforation will require hospitalization and surgery. This is an uncommon complication, even if polyps are excised. It is of the utmost importance that the patient contacts the provider's office immediately if symptoms present after the exam, such as growing pain in the abdomen, fever, or bleeding.

As with any test, a sigmoidoscopy is not always without error. There exists a slight, recognized risk that abnormalities, including cancer and polyps, can be missed at the time of the exam. It is essential to maintain check-ups as instructed and make them aware of any new or persistent symptoms. Please contact your Digestive Health Center provider if you have any questions or concerns.

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To a large degree, any alternatives to this exam will be dependent upon the cause of needing the sigmoidoscopy in the first place. Several x-rays can evaluate the colon, including a barium enema or virtual CT scan. These tests are, however, diagnostic exams only. Treatment of any detected abnormalities will necessitate a colonoscopy, surgery, or sigmoidoscopy. To learn more about having a flexible sigmoidoscopy in Ocean Springs, MS, or to discuss your options for treating and diagnosing your condition, we suggest you call a local Digestive Health Center in your community to request a consultation.

A flexible sigmoidoscopy can assist in identifying the root cause of problematic gastroenterology symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bleeding. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call an experienced gastroenterology provider as soon as possible. You can find a local gastroenterologist through Digestive Health Center. Our organization strives to provide the highest in patient-centered care and clinical standards. To learn more about receiving a flexible sigmoidoscopy in Ocean Springs, MS, or any other endoscopic test, reach out to a location near you today.

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