Flexible Sigmoidoscopy in Illinois
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What is a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
A flexible sigmoidoscopy is an endoscopic procedure where a long, thin, flexible pipe, or “scope,” is inserted into the rectum and then progressed into the lower third of the large intestine. Because of this, this exam is limited in that the entirety of the colon will not be examined. The scope is equipped with a light and a camera on the end of it which allows the gastroenterologist to analyze the colon's lining. A sigmoidoscopy might be used to investigate:
- Bleeding from the rectum
- Loose or watery stools
- Determine the origin of gastrointestinal symptoms including but not limited to:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Abnormal x-rays
- Possible polyps and colon cancer.
Our GI providers commonly perform flexible sigmoidoscopies for IIllinois patients. If you are suffering from any bothersome symptoms related to your digestive tract such as the above listed, consult with GI Alliance of Illinois to receive help in deciding if a flexible sigmoidoscopy could be a beneficial test for you.
What should I expect the day before my flexible sigmoidoscopy?
You will be given directions from your provider on how to best prepare for the procedure. The day before the procedure, the majority of patients will be instructed to consume only clear liquids for the entirety of the day. There are a number of individual options for laxatives to flush the colon. It is very important to adhere to the instructions given to you by your GI Alliance of Illinois specialist. In addition, there will be directions pertaining to your medications. Typically, any medications may be continued as usual. However, occasionally, specifically in patients on blood thinners (i.e. Plavix®, Coumadin®, warfarin, aspirin, NSAIDs) and in diabetics, individual instruction will be provided. Patients will be instructed not to take anything by mouth after midnight with an exception for some medications.
What should I expect on the day of my flexible sigmoidoscopy?
You'll be told to enter the endoscopy center 1 – 1.5 hours before your flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure. This will ensure time to complete all forms and get ready for the procedure. You'll be told to put on a hospital gown. Typically, no IV will be started since, typically, sedation is not needed for this test. You may be hooked up to technology that will help the provider and staff to watch your pulse, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, oxygen levels, and electrocardiogram during and following the procedure.
Once in the exam room, you'll be instructed to lie on your left on the bed. The physician will perform an exam of your rectum. The sigmoidoscope will then be slowly positioned into the rectum. The scope will then be gently advanced throughout the sigmoid colon. A tiny amount of air is injected by way of the tube into the colon to assist in the physician's visualization. Any fluid still in the colon after the preparation can be washed and removed via the scope. Depending on the findings of the exam, several things can be performed during the procedure including biopsies, removal of polyps, and procedures to control bleeding. After the exam, all possible remaining fluid and air are suctioned out of the colon by way of the scope. According to the findings, the exam takes approximately 5 – 15 minutes to conduct.
Since sedation is not typically necessary, once the procedure is complete the patient is allowed to put their clothes back on and is discharged from the endoscopy center. Assuming sedation is not administered, you will be released to perform your normal activities as well as drive. The majority of individuals are ready to eat and drink regularly following their release from the endoscopy center, however, unique instructions regarding activity, eating, and medications will be given to you before discharge. After the exam, the nurse and/or doctor will go over the results of the exam with you. You will also go home with a typed report. You will be made aware of any results from biopsies in 7 days or less.
Are there risks with a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
In general, sigmoidoscopy is a very safe test. Complications occur in fewer than 1 percent of patients. Typically, complications are not life-threatening, however, should a complication occur, it can call for surgery and/or hospitalization. Prior to the exam, a consent form will be discussed with the patient by the staff. If any questions or concerns come up, these may be discussed with your provider prior to beginning the exam.
Bleeding could occur with the removal of polyps and biopsies. Bleeding which could require hospitalization or a blood transfusion is very unusual. Still, bleeding may happen during the procedure or as long as two weeks post-test in the case that a polyp is removed.
Puncture or perforation of the colon may occur. This can be noticed at the time of the exam, or it may not become apparent until a short time later. In the majority of cases, a puncture will require surgery and hospitalization. This is an uncommon complication, even when polyps are removed. It is very important that the patient contact the provider's office immediately if symptoms occur after the procedure like growing pain in the abdomen, bleeding, or fever.
Just like any other exam, a sigmoidoscopy is not always perfect. There is a slight, recognized risk that abnormalities including cancer and polyps can be overlooked during the procedure. It is of the utmost importance to continue to maintain check-ups with your providers as advised and inform them of any new or recurring symptoms. Please discuss any questions or concerns with GI Alliance of Illinois provider.
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Are there alternatives to a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
For the most part, any alternatives to the procedure will depend on the cause of needing to undergo the sigmoidoscopy in the first place. There are several x-rays that can evaluate the colon including a virtual CT scan or a barium enema. However, these tests are diagnostic exams only. Treatment of any identified anomalies will necessitate colonoscopy, surgery, or sigmoidoscopy. To learn more regarding flexible sigmoidoscopy in Illinois or to discuss your options for diagnosis and treatment of your condition, we urge you to call our GI providers.
Advanced diagnostic testing
A flexible sigmoidoscopy could assist in identifying the cause of uncomfortable gastroenterology symptoms like pain in the abdomen, diarrhea, and bleeding. If you are exhibiting any of these symptoms, contact a skilled GI specialist as soon as possible. You can find a local gastroenterology doctor through GI Alliance of Illinois. Our network aims to give you the utmost in clinical standards and patient-centric care. To arrange for your flexible sigmoidoscopy in Chicago, IL, Peoria, IL, or Bloomington, IL, or any other endoscopic procedure, reach out to our team today.
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The staff was friendly and efficient. Amy S. was wonderful and caring and remembered details of my issues without digging through notes. She spent enough time with me to develop a plan of action that included my input. She is great!
The staff is always welcoming & professional. PA Amy takes time to listen to my issues, ask questions and offer possible solutions. She orders appropriate diagnostic tests at a convenient location for me. They follow up with results.
Dr.Arndt is an excellent physician who provides great care for his GI patients. His interpersonal skills and ability to explain causes and solutions for conditions in easy to understand terms are fantastic. Thank you for all your great care.
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