Having a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
What is a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
Whilst performing a flexible sigmoidoscopy, the endoscopist is able to look closely at the lining of the lower part of your large bowel, rectum and sigmoid colon. The instrument used is called a flexible sigmoidoscope which is a long flexible tube (about as thick as your first finger) with a bright light at the end. The sigmoidoscope is able to transmit very clear pictures onto a television screen. If small samples of tissue (biopsies) need to be taken, tiny forceps are used to remove the sample and you will not feel anything.
Preparation for the test
To ensure that your bowel is clear for the examination you will be given a phosphate enema one hour before your sigmoidoscopy . Some medications need to be stopped prior to the procedure and for a short time afterwards. These are listed below:
- Iron medication: This should be stopped seven days prior to the procedure but can be restarted immediately afterwards.
- Clopidogrel: This should be stopped ten days before the procedure after discussion with Dr. Ransford.
- Warfarin: This should be stopped five days before the sigmoidoscopy. Some patients may require Heparin to cover the period when they are not taking Warfarin. Please contact Dr. Ransford for further advice re your Warfarin therapy prior to the procedure.
You will be given a sedative drug before the test begins. This will be administered through a small cannula which is inserted into the back of your hand. Following your sedation the sigmoidoscope is passed into the bowel. The test takes between 15 and 20 minutes. During the examination air will be inserted to partially inflate your bowel, this enables the lining of the bowel to be clearly seen.
You will be told the findings of the examination straight away. If you have had sedation you may not recall all that you have been told and you will receive written confirmation of the findings.
If you have had sedation it is very important that you have someone to accompany you home and stay with you for the remainder of the day.
Following sedation you should not:
- Drive for 24 hours
- Operate any machinery including cookers, kettles etc
- Sign any legal documents or make any important decisions
- Drink any alcohol
Depending on the nature of your job, you should be able to return to work the next day.
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