Flexible Sigmoidoscopy in Denver, CO

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A flexible sigmoidoscopy is an endoscopic exam during which a thin, long, bendable pipe, or "scope," is inserted into the rectum and advanced into the lower third of the large intestine. This procedure is limited because not all of the colon is examined. The scope has a light and a camera on the end, allowing the physician to examine the colon's lining. A sigmoidoscopy may be used to:

  • Loose or watery stools
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Concerning x-ray results
  • Bleeding
  • Get to the root of the cause of gastrointestinal symptoms, including:
  • To screen for polyps and colon cancer.

Our GI providers commonly conduct flexible sigmoidoscopies for Denver, CO individuals. If you are suffering from any troubling symptoms related to your digestive tract like those listed above, reach out to Denver Digestive Health Specialists for help in deciding if a flexible sigmoidoscopy could be a helpful test for you.

 

You will receive instructions from your physician about the required bowel preparation for the procedure. Most patients will be on clear liquids for the entirety of the day, the 24 hours preceding the exam. There are several different types of laxatives to clean out the colon. It is important to adhere to the instructions provided to you by your Denver Digestive Health Specialists physician. There will also be additional instructions pertaining to any medicine you are currently taking. In most cases, you can continue your medications as usual. However, in some cases, specifically in people prescribed blood thinners (i.e. Plavix®, Coumadin®, warfarin, aspirin, NSAIDs) and in diabetics, special instructions will be given. You will be directed to take nothing orally after midnight, with an exception for some medications.

To have adequate time to complete all forms and prepare for the exam, you should arrive at the endoscopy center 1 to 1.5 hours before your flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure. To prepare, you'll put on a hospital gown and connect to technology that watches your pulse, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, oxygen levels, and electrocardiogram during and after the exam.

Once in the exam room, you will lie down on your left on the exam table. The sigmoidoscope will then be carefully placed just inside the rectum. Your GI provider will cautiously advance the scope through the sigmoid colon. A tiny bit of air is inserted through the scope into the colon to help the physician see. Any fluid in the colon post preparation can be rinsed and removed via the scope. Your GI specialist can perform several treatments during the procedure depending on exam results—procedures like biopsies, polyp removal, and control of bleeding. At the end of the process, the scope removes any remaining air or fluid.

Depending on the findings, the procedure typically takes 5 – 15 minutes.
At the exam's end, the patient can return to regular clothes and be released to perform everyday activities. Most individuals are free to drink and eat regularly after their release; however, individualized guidelines regarding activity, eating, and medications will be given before discharge. After the exam, the provider and/or nurse will review the procedure's findings. The patient will also go home with a written report. Our team will inform you of any biopsy results in 7 days or less.

Typically, sigmoidoscopy is a very safe test. In all, adverse side effects experienced by patients are fewer than 1%. Most of the time, complications are not severe, however, should a complication occur, it may call for surgery and/or hospitalization. In advance of the exam, the nursing staff will review a consent form with you. Should any concerns or questions arise, our GI team can review them before beginning the exam.

Bleeding could happen with the removal of polyps and biopsies. Again, a concerning amount of bleeding which might necessitate a blood transfusion or hospitalization is extremely uncommon. Bleeding can happen during the procedure or up to two weeks following if a polyp is excised.

Perforation or puncture of the colon can take place. Your GI specialist may notice this during the exam, or it may not become evident until a short time later. In most cases, a puncture will necessitate hospitalization and surgery. Punctures are an atypical complication, even with polyp removal. You must immediately inform the specialist's office if symptoms manifest after the procedure, like growing abdominal pain, fever, or bleeding.

Like any other procedure, a sigmoidoscopy is not always perfect. There is a small, acknowledged risk that abnormalities, including cancer and polyps, can be missed during the process. It is of the utmost importance to follow up with your providers as instructed and make them aware of any new or ongoing symptoms. Please talk with your Denver Digestive Health Specialists specialist should you think of any concerns or questions.

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To an extent, any alternatives to the exam will depend upon the reason for needing the sigmoidoscopy. Different x-rays can look at the colon, including a barium enema or virtual CT scan. These are, however, diagnostic exams only. Treatment of any detected anomalies will necessitate sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, or surgery. To discover more regarding flexible sigmoidoscopy in Denver, CO, or about your options for treating and diagnosing your problem, we suggest you request an appointment with our GI team.

A flexible sigmoidoscopy may assist in identifying the cause of uncomfortable GI symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bleeding. If you begin showing any of these listed symptoms, consult with a skilled gastroenterology provider as soon as you can. You can connect with a local gastroenterology specialist through Denver Digestive Health Specialists. Our organization works to give you the highest clinical standards and patient-centric care. Request an appointment with our providers to learn more about receiving a flexible sigmoidoscopy in Denver, CO, or any other endoscopic exam.

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