Sigmoidoscopy procedure helps doctors to find abnormal cells, cancer, polyps and ulcers. Usually, sample tissue pieces are taken to find these abnormalities. If aspects such abdominal pain, unusual weight loss, rectal bleeding or alteration in bowel habits are visible, informing your doctor immediately is highly recommended; post which, sigmoidoscopy might be conducted.
Sigmoidoscopy process usually lasts for anything between 10 and 20 minutes for completion.
The process of sigmoidoscopy begins with the doctor advising patients to lie down on their left side with knees drawn to their chest. The doctor will then wear a lubricated glove and insert a finger inside the patient's rectum for checking blockages by gently enlarging anus. This process is known as digital rectal exam.
Further, a sigmoidoscope will be placed via patient's anus. Being flexible, the sigmoidoscope passes easily via anus. A camera and light is present at the tip of this scope. The scope will then be gently moved to the patient's colon and air will be inserted into it for enlarging this region. This aids in getting a better view. Passing of air might cause urge for passing gas or have bowel movement. Suction might be utilized for removing stool or fluid.
Doctors insert one small biopsy tool via the scope for taking samples of tissue. Electrocautery (heat) might be necessitated for removing polyps if any and photos of colon from inside might be clicked.
Note: A rigid sigmoidoscope is required for treating issues of rectum or anus.
Once this procedure of sigmoidoscopy is complete, the doctor discusses results with patients. Patients might experience cramping or feel like being filled with gas; however, these conditions pass away quickly. Patients can soon resume their normal activities and diet.
If some polyps or other growths are found, as explained above, a biopsy is done. The doctor may also advise for complete exam of colon via polyp removal or colonoscopy.