Flexible Sigmoidoscopy in Hattiesburg, MS
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What exactly is a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
A flexible sigmoidoscopy is an endoscopic procedure during which a long, thin, bendable pipe, or "scope," is inserted into the rectum and then progressed throughout the lower third of the colon. As such, the technique has some limitations in that not all of the colon will be viewed. The pipe is equipped with a light and a camera on the end of it, which allows the specialist to analyze the colon's lining. A sigmoidoscopy might be used to:
- Screen for colon cancer and detect polyps
- Diagnose the underlying cause of GI symptoms, including:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Abnormal x-ray tests
- Bleeding from the rectum
- Loose or watery stools
Our GI providers regularly perform flexible sigmoidoscopies for Hattiesburg, MS patients. In the event that you are suffering from any troubling symptoms related to your digestive tract like those listed above, call Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC to request a consultation and learn if a flexible sigmoidoscopy could be a helpful test for your condition.
What can I expect the day before my flexible sigmoidoscopy?
You will be provided with instructions from your Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC provider in regard to the bowel preparations you need to perform in advance of your procedure. The majority of individuals will be instructed to consume only clear liquids for the entirety of the day prior to the procedure. You will also need to use laxatives to clean out your colon for the exam. It is very important to follow the instructions given to you by your physician. You may also receive additional directions pertaining to your medications. Typically, your medications may be continued as usual. However, in certain circumstances, specifically in patients prescribed blood thinners (such as Coumadin®, warfarin, Plavix®, aspirin, and anti-inflammatories) and in diabetics, individual instructions will be given. Patients are generally instructed not to take anything orally after midnight except for medications.
What happens on the day of my flexible sigmoidoscopy?
You will need to arrive at our Digestive Diseases Center 1 – 1.5 hours in advance of your flexible sigmoidoscopy exam. This is to allow you time to complete all of the required patient forms and get ready for the procedure. You'll be told to put on a hospital gown. In most cases, no IV will be started, as sedation is usually not needed with this exam. You may be hooked up to equipment that will permit the staff and provider to monitor your pulse, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, oxygen levels, and electrocardiogram throughout and after the exam.
Once in the exam room, you will be directed to lie on your left side on the stretcher. The physician will carry out an exam of your rectum. The sigmoidoscope will then be slowly inserted just inside the rectum. The scope will then slowly advance through the sigmoid colon. A tiny amount of air will be injected by way of the scope into the colon to aid the physician in seeing. Any fluid still in the colon after the preparation can be washed and removed by the scope. Depending on the results of the exam, your gastroenterologist may conduct additional procedures during the exam, including biopsies, removal of polyps, and steps to manage bleeding. At the conclusion of the exam, much of the remaining fluid and air will be suctioned out of the colon via the scope. Depending on the results, the procedure takes approximately 5 – 15 minutes.
Since sedation is not usually necessary, you should be able to switch back to your normal clothes and leave the endoscopy unit shortly after the exam. Assuming sedation is not used, you'll be permitted to drive and perform your usual activities. Most people are free to eat and drink regularly after their discharge from the endoscopy unit, but individualized instructions regarding activity, eating, and medications will be provided before discharge. Following the exam, the doctor and/or nurse will go over the findings of the procedure with you. You will also be sent home with a written report. You should be alerted of any biopsy results in seven days or less.
Are there risks with a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
Ordinarily, sigmoidoscopy is quite a safe procedure. All in all, complications are observed in less than 1 percent of patients. Most of these complications are not life-threatening, but should one present itself, you may require hospitalization and surgery. Prior to the procedure, a consent form will be reviewed with you by the Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC staff. Should any concerns or questions arise, these can be brought up to and addressed by your specialist prior to beginning the procedure.
Bleeding is a possibility with the removal of polyps and biopsies. Again, significant bleeding — which could require hospitalization or a blood transfusion — is highly uncommon. Still, bleeding may occur at the time of the exam or up to two weeks after the test in the event that a polyp is removed.
Puncture or perforation of the large intestine can also take place. This may be noticed during the procedure, or it may not be apparent until a short time later. In most cases, a puncture will necessitate surgery and hospitalization. This is a rare complication, even when polyps are extracted. It is very important that you reach out to the physician's office promptly if symptoms present after the procedure like increasing pain in the abdomen, fever, or bleeding.
Just like any other test, a sigmoidoscopy is not always flawless. There is a slight, accepted chance that tissue abnormalities including (but not limited to) cancer and polyps can be missed during the procedure. It is imperative to remain vigilant and follow up with your physicians as instructed to make them aware of any new or persistent symptoms. Please speak with your Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC specialist if you have any concerns or questions.
What are the alternatives to a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
To an extent, any alternatives to this procedure will be dependent on the reason for ordering the sigmoidoscopy in the first place. There are a number of x-rays that can evaluate the colon including a barium enema or virtual CT scan. These methods, however, are diagnostic exams only. Treatment of any detected abnormalities will necessitate a colonoscopy, surgery, or sigmoidoscopy. To hear more regarding flexible sigmoidoscopy in Hattiesburg, MS or to discuss your options for treating and diagnosing your problem, please get in touch with our gastroenterology providers.
Advanced procedures in diagnostic testing
A flexible sigmoidoscopy may aid in identifying the root cause of troubling GI symptoms such as pain in the abdomen, diarrhea, and bleeding. Should you experience any of these symptoms, then contact a skilled GI specialist as soon as possible. You can connect with a local gastroenterology physician through Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC. Our board-certified providers strive to offer the utmost in clinical standards and patient-centric care. To learn more about scheduling a flexible sigmoidoscopy in Hattiesburg, MS or any other endoscopic test, request a consultation with our staff now.
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Great visit. Answered all my questions. Highly recommend.
Dr.Farmer and his nurse Shay was very professional and very nice