The colon is one of the largest and most important organs in the body. It can also create a number of complications for individuals. Yet, because of its location and size, doctors can have trouble understanding what is happening within it. Procedures such as the flexible sigmoidoscopy can help to provide more detail into it. This procedure is generally an outpatient one that is minimally invasive yet can provide doctors in Brooklyn with a great deal of information.
What Is a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy?
During a flexible sigmoidoscopy, your GI doctor in Brooklyn will use a thin, flexible tube called a sigmoidoscope that’s inserted into the rectum to view the interior of the colon. This tube has a very small video camera on its tip. Your doctor then can view the interior of the rectum as well as most of the sigmoid colon, which is about 2 feet of colon. This tool also allows the doctor to gather tissue samples, called a biopsy. The tissue is then removed from the body, and doctors can use it to get a better understanding of the condition and health of the colon.
Why Do You Need a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy?
Though this procedure does not provide a complete view of the interior of the colon, it does provide a lot of information to your Brooklyn gastroenterologist. Your doctor may recommend that you have this procedure if you have any signs or symptoms of intestinal disease. These may include:
- Abdominal pain that’s not otherwise understood
- Changes in bowel habits
- Chronic diarrhea
- Other types of intestinal complications
In addition, this procedure, along with a colonoscopy, can be very important steps in the prevention and treatment of colon cancer. Those who are over the age of 50 are often recommended for this type of procedure even if you have no colon cancer risk in your family. You’ll also need to repeat this procedure every five years or so.
What Happens During a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy?
During the procedure, you will lie on your side on an exam table. You may be sedated for the procedure. The doctor will insert the scope into the rectum and colon. The sigmoidoscope has a small light on it that allows the doctor to navigate it through the colon that allows the doctor to see the lining of the colon more thoroughly. Air is also added to the colon to create a better visual. Visual images are taken at this time as well.
If necessary, your GI doctor in Brooklyn can also remove small tissue samples from the area. This includes removing a polyp. This tissue can then be examined more closely to determine if any abnormal cells exist. The entire procedure takes about 15 minutes to complete. If a polyp is found, your doctor may recommend that you have a full colonoscopy to ensure all polyps are removed. This can help in the prevention of cancer development. This procedure is not painful, but it can be uncomfortable. Your doctor will meet with you afterwards to discuss the results and offer any follow-up treatment necessary.