Flexible Sigmoidoscopy in Houston, TX
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What is a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that makes use of a long, thin, bendable scope that is positioned into the rectum and slowly advanced through the lower colon. This exam is somewhat limited in that not all of the colon will be examined. The pipe has a light and a camera on its end, which allows the doctor to closely inspect the lining of the colon. A sigmoidoscopy can be performed to diagnose the underlying cause of digestive problems, including:
- Unusual x-ray findings
- Bleeding from the rectum
- Pain in the abdomen
- Loose or watery stools
A flexible sigmoidoscopy might also be used to evaluate colon polyps as part of a colon cancer screening.
Our GI providers commonly perform flexible sigmoidoscopies for Houston, TX individuals. If you are experiencing any concerning GI symptoms like those listed above, connect with Gastroenterology Consultants to receive help in deciding if a flexible sigmoidoscopy might be useful test for you.
What can I expect the day before my flexible sigmoidoscopy?
Your gastroenterologist will provide you with specific instructions outlining how to prepare your bowels for your flexible sigmoidoscopy. The majority of people will be instructed to consume only clear liquids all day for the day preceding the exam. There are numerous available laxatives to clean out the colon. It is of the utmost importance that you follow the instructions given to you by your Gastroenterology Consultants physician. There will also be additional instructions relating to your medications. Typically, your medications will be continued as usual. However, sometimes, especially in patients taking blood thinners (i.e. Coumadin®, warfarin, Plavix®, aspirin, anti-inflammatories) and in diabetics, special directions will be provided. Patients will be told to take nothing orally any later than midnight with an exception for some medications.
What should I expect on the day of my flexible sigmoidoscopy?
Please plan to arrive at our office or endoscopy center 1 – 1.5 hours prior to your flexible sigmoidoscopy exam. This is to allow time to complete paperwork and get ready for the procedure. You'll be directed to don a medical gown. Usually, no IV will be started since, in most cases, sedation is not needed with this procedure. You may be connected to equipment that will allow the staff and provider to monitor your pulse, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, oxygen levels, and electrocardiogram throughout and following the exam.
Once in the exam room, you'll be directed to lie on your left side on the stretcher. The specialist will perform an exam of your rectum. The sigmoidoscope will then be gently inserted into the rectum. The scope will be slowly advanced through the sigmoid colon. A small amount of air is inserted by way of the tube into the colon so the physician can see the area better. Any liquid still in the colon post-preparation can be rinsed and suctioned out by the scope. Depending on the results of the exam, a few complications can be taken care of during the exam, including removal of polyps, control of bleeding, and biopsies. At the conclusion of the procedure, as much of the air and remaining fluid as possible is suctioned out of the colon via the scope. Depending on the results, the test takes approximately 5 – 15 minutes to complete.
Since sedation is not usually needed, most patients are able to chance back into their clothes and exit the endoscopy unit shortly after the flexible sigmoidoscopy. If sedation is not administered, you'll be allowed to perform your normal activities as well as drive. Most people are free to eat and drink normally after their discharge from the endoscopy center, but your health team should provide specific instructions for you before you leave. After the exam, the nurse and/or doctor will review the results of the exam with you. You will also go home with a written report. You will be made aware of any biopsy results in 7 days or less.
What are the risks of a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
By and large, sigmoidoscopy is a very safe procedure. In all, complications are experienced by fewer than 1% of patients. The majority of complications are not serious. That being said, if a complication occurs, it might necessitate surgery and/or hospitalization. In advance of the exam, a consent form will be discussed with you by the staff. If any questions or concerns arise, these can be reviewed with your provider before the beginning of the procedure.
It's possible for bleeding to occur if your procedure includes a biopsy or polyp removal. If you do experience bleeding, it's very unlikely to be dangerous enough to require a blood transfusion or a hospital stay. However, bleeding has been known occur at the time of the procedure or for as long as two weeks after the test in the case that a polyp is removed.
Perforation or puncture of the large intestine can occur. This may be spotted during the exam, or it may not become obvious until later in the day. In most cases, a puncture will require hospitalization and surgery. This is a rare complication, even when polyps are extracted. It is of the utmost importance that the patient reach out to their specialist's office promptly if symptoms manifest following the exam like growing abdominal pain, fever, or bleeding.
Just like any other test, a sigmoidoscopy is not flawless. There is a slight, accepted chance that abnormalities including polyps and cancers can be overlooked at the time of the procedure. It is crucial to continue to maintain check-ups with your providers as advised and make them aware of any new or recurring symptoms. Please discuss it with your Gastroenterology Consultants specialist in the event that you have any questions or concerns.
Are there alternatives to a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
For the most part, the alternatives you have for this procedure will depend on the symptoms or condition you're dealing with. There are a number of x-rays that can evaluate the colon, including a barium enema or virtual CT scan. These tests are however only diagnostic exams. Mitigation of any identified abnormalities will necessitate colonoscopy, surgery, or sigmoidoscopy. To learn more regarding flexible sigmoidoscopy in Houston, TX or to discuss alternatives for treating and diagnosing your condition, we suggest you connect with our gastroenterology team.
Advanced diagnostic testing
Flexible sigmoidoscopy can be very useful in identifying the cause of uncomfortable GI symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bleeding. In the event that you are exhibiting any of these symptoms, consult with an experienced gastroenterology specialist immediately. You can locate a local GI physician through Gastroenterology Consultants. Our organization strives to give you the highest in clinical standards and patient-centric care. To learn more about receiving a flexible sigmoidoscopy or any other endoscopic procedures in Houston, TX, contact our staff without delay.
It was an informative visit and the staff treated me like they actually cared.
Everyone has been very professional on time. Very friendly I love my doctor Raj
I liked the Doctor. He was thorough with examine and questions. Explained upcoming procedures well.
The entire process went smooth from check-in to my departure. Great staff!
Once I was seen by the Dr I received very good service so far. My frustration is with the lack of respect of my time. I show up 15 min early for the appointment to respect their time, but I’m not given the same courtesy and was seen almost 40 min past my appointment time. This is extremely disrespectful and I’m sure they wouldn’t honor the appointment if I showed such blatant disregard for their time.