Flexible Sigmoidoscopy in Lubbock, TX

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A flexible sigmoidoscopy is an endoscopic diagnostic technique during which a long, flexible tube, or “scope,” is inserted into the rectum and advanced through the lower third of the colon. For this reason, this exam is somewhat limited in the sense that the entirety of the colon will not be seen. The tube is equipped with a camera and a light at its end which grants the provider the ability to inspect the lining of the colon closely. A sigmoidoscopy could be carried out to:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Diarrhea
  • Concerning x-ray results
  • Diagnose the root cause of gastrointestinal symptoms
  • As a screening tool for colon cancer and polyps.

Our GI providers commonly conduct flexible sigmoidoscopies for Lubbock, TX patients. If you are experiencing any painful symptoms related to your gastrointestinal tract like the above listed, reach out to a Lubbock Digestive Disease Associates location near you to learn if a flexible sigmoidoscopy could benefit you.

You will receive instructions from your gastroenterologist regarding the required bowel prep to ready you for your exam. The majority of people will be restricted to clear liquids the day before the procedure. There are several options for laxatives to prepare the colon. It is important to adhere to the instructions provided to you by your Lubbock Digestive Disease Associates gastroenterologist. There will also be additional instructions relating to any medicine you are currently taking. The majority of the time, any medications may be taken as usual. However, in some cases, specifically in patients taking blood thinners (i.e. Coumadin®, warfarin, Plavix®, aspirin, anti-inflammatories) and in those with diabetes, individual instruction will be given. Patients will be instructed not to take anything by mouth any later than midnight with an exception for some medications.

You will be instructed to arrive at the endoscopy center 1 to 1.5 hours before your flexible sigmoidoscopy exam. This will allow you time to complete all forms and prepare you for the exam. You'll be asked to change into a hospital gown. Usually, no IV will be started because sedation is typically not needed for this procedure. You may be connected to sensors that will allow the provider and staff to monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, pulse, electrocardiogram, breathing, and oxygen level throughout and after the exam.

Once in the exam room, you will be instructed to lie on your left side on the bed. The gastroenterologist will perform a rectal exam. The sigmoidoscope will then be gently inserted just inside the rectum. The scope will then be gently advanced throughout the sigmoid colon. A small bit of air is pushed through the tube into the colon to help the provider see. Any liquid still in the colon following the preparation can be rinsed and suctioned out through the scope. Pending on the results of the test, a few things can be performed during the procedure including removal of polyps, control of bleeding, and biopsies. At the conclusion of the procedure, any air or remaining fluid is suctioned out of the colon via the scope. This procedure typically takes 5 – 15 minutes to conduct.

Because anesthesia is not usually needed, once the procedure is complete the patient is directed to change back into their clothes and is released from the endoscopy center. If sedation is not used, you'll be permitted to drive and resume your usual activities. The majority of people are ready to drink and eat regularly following their discharge from the endoscopy center; however, individualized instructions in regard to activity, eating, and medications will be given to you before discharge. After the exam, the nurse and/or provider will review the results of the exam with you. You will also go home with a written report. Once the biopsy results are ready, you will be notified. Results are typically ready in 7 days or less.

All in all, sigmoidoscopy is a very safe test. Negative side effects occur in less than 1% of patients. Most complications are not life-threatening, however, should a complication occur, it might call for surgery and/or hospitalization. Prior to the exam, a consent form will be discussed with you by the nursing staff. If any concerns or questions arise, they can be discussed with your specialist prior to beginning the exam.

Bleeding may occur with biopsies and the removal of polyps. A concerning amount of bleeding might require a blood transfusion or hospitalization, but is highly uncommon. However, bleeding may happen during the procedure or up to two weeks post procedure if a polyp is excised.

Perforation or puncture of the colon can occur. This could be found at the time of the exam or it may not be apparent until later in the day. In most cases, a puncture will require surgery and hospitalization. This is an uncommon complication, even in the event that polyps are removed. It is extremely important that you contact your provider's office immediately if symptoms manifest following the exam such as increasing pain in the abdomen, fever, or bleeding.

Like any other procedure, a sigmoidoscopy is not always without error. There exists a small, accepted chance that tissue abnormalities including but not limited to cancer and polyps can be overlooked at the time of the procedure. It is vital to remain vigilant and to maintain check-ups with your providers as directed and inform them of any new or persistent symptoms. Please discuss it with your Lubbock Digestive Disease Associates provider should you think of any concerns or questions.

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The alternatives to this exam will depend on the cause of needing the sigmoidoscopy to begin with. There are several x-rays that can look at the colon, including a barium enema or virtual CT scan. However, these methods are only diagnostic exams. Treatment of any anomalies will require sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, or surgery. Our Lubbock, TX providers are dedicated to helping you understand the benefits of a flexible sigmoidoscopy and are here to explain any alternative options to you.

A flexible sigmoidoscopy can help identify the cause of troubling gastroenterology symptoms like diarrhea, bleeding, and abdominal pain. In the event that you are exhibiting any of these symptoms, call an experienced gastroenterologist at your earliest convenience. At Lubbock Digestive Disease Associates , our organization aims to provide the highest in patient-centered care and clinical standards. To arrange for your flexible sigmoidoscopy in Lubbock, TX or another endoscopic test, request a consultation with our staff.

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