Flexible Sigmoidoscopy in Kansas City, MO

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A flexible sigmoidoscopy is an endoscopic procedure during which a thin, long, flexible pipe, or “scope,” is placed into the rectum and then progressed throughout the lower third of the large intestine. Because of this, this procedure has some limitations in that the entirety of the colon will not be seen. The pipe has a camera and a light at its end, which enables the physician to examine the colon's lining. A sigmoidoscopy could be carried out to:

  • Get to the root of the root cause of GI symptoms like:
    • Diarrhea
    • Bleeding from the rectum
    • Pain in the abdomen
    • Unusual x-ray results
  • To screen for polyps and colon cancer.

Our experienced providers routinely perform flexible sigmoidoscopies for Kansas City, MO patients. If you are suffering from any concerning symptoms related to your digestive tract such as those listed above, reach out to Digestive Health Specialists to learn if a flexible sigmoidoscopy might be a helpful test for you.

You will receive directions from your specialist regarding the required bowel preparation for the exam. The majority of individuals will be instructed to consume only clear liquids all day, 24 hours before the flexible sigmoidoscopy. There are a number of distinct options for laxatives to cleanse the colon. It is imperative that you adhere to the directions provided to you by your Digestive Health Specialists provider. In addition, there will be instructions pertaining to any medicine you are currently taking. In most cases, your medications will be taken as usual. However, sometimes, especially for people taking blood thinners (i.e. Coumadin®, warfarin, Plavix®, aspirin, anti-inflammatories) and for diabetics, special instructions will be given. Patients will be instructed to take nothing by mouth after midnight with an exception for some medications.

You will be asked to enter the endoscopy center 1 to 1.5 hours prior to your flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure. This will ensure you have time to fill out paperwork and prep for the exam. You'll be instructed to change into a hospital gown. In most cases, no IV will be started because sedation is not usually administered for this procedure. You may be connected to equipment that will help the provider and staff to monitor your oxygen levels, heart rate, electrocardiogram, pulse, breathing, and blood pressure throughout and after the procedure.

After you are inside the exam room, you'll be instructed to lie down on your left side on the bed. The gastroenterologist will perform an exam of your rectum. The sigmoidoscope will then be carefully placed just inside the rectum. The scope will be slowly advanced throughout the sigmoid colon. A tiny amount of air is injected through the scope into the colon to help the physician see. Any fluid still in the colon post-preparation can be washed and suctioned out via the scope. Depending on the results of the exam, a number of things can be done during the exam, including biopsies, removal of polyps, and control of bleeding. At the conclusion of the procedure, as much of the air and remaining fluid as possible is suctioned out of the colon through the scope. Depending on the results, the test usually takes 5 – 15 minutes to conduct.

Because anesthesia is not typically used, once the procedure is complete you will be asked to change back into your clothes and are released from the endoscopy unit. If sedation is not utilized, you will be released to drive and perform your usual activities. The majority of people are free to eat and drink normally following their release from the endoscopy unit, however, personalized guidelines in regard to eating, medication, and activities will be given to you prior to discharge. After the exam, the nurse and/or doctor will go over the findings of the procedure with you. You will also be sent home with a typed report. You will be alerted of any biopsy results within one week.

In general, sigmoidoscopy is a very safe test. In all, negative side effects are experienced by less than 1% of patients. The majority of complications are not serious, still, should a complication occur, it could require hospitalization and surgery. Before the exam, the staff will review the consent form with you. If any questions or concerns arise, these may be discussed with your provider ahead of the exam.

Bleeding may occur with biopsies and the removal of polyps. To reiterate, significant bleeding, which could involve hospitalization or a blood transfusion, is highly uncommon. Still, bleeding has been known to occur at the time of the procedure or up to two weeks following the test in the event that a polyp is extracted.

Puncture or perforation of the large intestine can take place. This may be recognized during the exam, or it may not become obvious until a short time later. In most cases, a perforation will require surgery and hospitalization. This is an uncommon complication, even in the event that polyps are removed. It is very important that you reach out to you provider's office immediately if symptoms present following the exam, such as growing pain in the abdomen, fever, or bleeding.

Like any other procedure, a sigmoidoscopy is not perfect. There remains a small, acknowledged risk that abnormal tissues, including polyps and cancers, could be overlooked during the procedure. It is of the utmost importance to remain vigilant and to maintain check-ups with your providers as advised and inform them of any new or recurring symptoms. If you have any further concerns or questions, please be sure to address them with your Digestive Health Specialists provider.

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For the most part, the alternatives to the exam will depend on the reason for needing to undergo the sigmoidoscopy to begin with. There are several x-rays that are able to look at the colon, including a barium enema or virtual CT scan. These methods are, however, diagnostic exams only. Mitigation of any suspected abnormalities will require a sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, or surgery. To learn more regarding flexible sigmoidoscopy in Kansas City, MO or about your options for treating and diagnosing your condition, we encourage you to contact our gastroenterology team.

A flexible sigmoidoscopy may assist in identifying the cause of uncomfortable GI symptoms like pain in the abdomen, diarrhea, and bleeding. If you are exhibiting any of these symptoms, reach out to a skilled gastroenterology provider as soon as possible. You can find a local GI provider through GI Alliance – Digestive Health Specialists. Our practice aims to provide the utmost in patient-centered care and clinical standards. To arrange for your flexible sigmoidoscopy in Kansas City, MO or another endoscopic exam, request a consultation with our providers now.

Nice people, knowledgeable, Took time to explain why doing test. It was explained what would be the next step and what would be coming after, if all went well.

D.W. Google

Always a good experience with Dr McCormick

S.L. Google

Dr. Schnell is always professional and caring.

D.M. Google

Very caring staff! Made you feel very comfortable

K.S. Google

Dr Able and staff were very kind and explained everything very well! It was a positive experience!

A.B. Google


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