Sigmoidoscopy is a procedure used to see inside the sigmoid colon and rectum.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy; Sigmoidoscopy - flexible; Proctoscopy; Proctosigmoidoscopy; Rigid sigmoidoscopy
How the test is performed
During the test, you are positioned on your left side with your knees drawn up toward your chest. A gastroenterologist or surgeon will perform the test. First, the doctor does a digital rectal exam by gently inserting a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum to check for blockage and to dilate (gently enlarge) the anus.
The sigmoidoscope has a small camera attached to a flexible tube. It is inserted through the anus and gently advanced. Air is introduced into the colon to open up the area and help the doctor see better. The air may cause the urge to have a bowel movement. Suction may be used to remove fluid or stool.
Because the health care provider gets a better view as the sigmoidoscope is pulled back out, a more careful examination is done while the scope is being pulled out.
Tissue samples may be taken with tiny biopsy forceps inserted through the scope.
Sigmoidoscopy using a rigid scope may be done to treat problems of the anus or rectum.
How to prepare for the test
You must sign an informed consent form. You will wear a hospital gown.
Review Date: 12/13/2010
Reviewed By: George F Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.