Flexible sigmoidoscopy at Benenden Hospital

Flexible sigmoidoscopy

A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a procedure to look at the inside of the lower part of the large intestine (colon) using a sigmoidoscope; a long, thin flexible tube with a light and camera at the end of it. This allows your Consultant to clearly view the inside of your body on a monitor.

I have a question about flexible sigmoidoscopy

Why would I need a flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure?

You might need a flexible sigmoidoscopy:

  • To diagnose the cause of abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, changes in bowel habits, chronic diarrhoea and other intestinal problems
  • To monitor any existing conditions, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
  • To treat volvulus, a condition in which a loop of intestine becomes twisted around itself, causing an obstruction of your bowel. This can cause sickness, constipation and abdominal pain
  • If you’re being examined for potential colon cancer or rectal cancer

It’s easy to make a self-pay sigmoidoscopy appointment by completing our online booking form or by calling our Private Patient Team on 01580 363158.

Preparation and sedation for a flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure

Before your procedure, you’ll be given full instructions on how to prepare by the team looking after you. Our experienced staff are here to help, so it’s important to discuss any concerns or ask any questions you have.

On the day of your flexible sigmoidoscopy, your colon will need to be completely empty so that your Consultant can see the lining of your bowel. You’ll need to follow a special diet for a few days before the flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure and will be asked not to eat any solids the day before. You’ll also be given a bowel preparation which will come with instructions on how and when to take it.

We might also ask you to stop taking medication such as warfarin, aspirin or ibuprofen and – if you take them – iron tablets.

What happens during a flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure?

A flexible sigmoidoscopy usually takes about ten - twenty minutes and is carried out in our ambulatory care unit, so you won’t need to stay overnight in hospital. 

During a flexible sigmoidoscopy examination, a thin tube called a sigmoidoscope is inserted into the rectum and moved around in your large bowel. The camera at the tip of the tube allows your Consultant to look at the inside of the rectum and most of the sigmoid colon. 

Your Consultant will use CO2 gas to expand your colon, which will provide clearer images of the lining.  You may feel abdominal cramps when the CO2 gas is inserted.

How soon will I recover from a flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure?

After the procedure, one of our team will take you to the recovery room where you can relax until you’re able to go home. An after effect of flexible sigmoidoscopy is you may feel a bit bloated for a few hours, but this will pass, and you should be able to go back to work the next day.

Flexible sigmoidoscopy recovery and after effects

If you were under sedation during your flexible sigmoidoscopy, you’ll normally recover in about two hours. The sedative will be in your system for at least 24 hours, so someone will need to pick you up from hospital in a car or taxi, and you should make sure you get plenty of rest.

How much does a flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure cost?

The cost of a flexible sigmoidoscopy is listed in the endoscopy section of our treatment prices page. To find out more, complete our online form or call our Private Patient Team on 01580 363158.

Watch our

endoscopy webinar

Anyone needing to undergo an internal clinical investigation to diagnose symptoms related to a health concern, will have heard of an endoscopy. But what does it mean? Join Dr Laurence Maiden to find out more.

Endoscopy treatment at Benenden Hospital

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