Flexible Sigmoidoscopy in St. Louis, MO

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A flexible sigmoidoscopy is an endoscopic exam wherein a thin, long, bendable pipe, or “scope,” is placed into the rectum and then progressed through the lower third of the large intestine. For this reason, the exam is limited in that the entirety of the colon will not be seen. The scope is equipped with a light and a camera on its end, which allows your GI specialist to examine the lining of the colon. A sigmoidoscopy may be used to diagnose:

  • Abnormal x-ray results
  • Bleeding
  • Get to the root of the cause of GI symptoms such as:
    • Painful abdomen
    • Loose or watery stools
  • To screen for polyps and colon cancer.

Our GI providers perform flexible sigmoidoscopies for St. Louis, MO individuals. If you are dealing with any worrisome symptoms concerning your digestive tract like the above listed, then contact your nearest Specialists in Gastroenterology location to see if a flexible sigmoidoscopy could benefit you.

You will receive instructions from your gastroenterologist regarding the required bowel prep to ready you for the exam. Most individuals will only be allowed to consume clear liquids the day before the procedure. There are a number of different options for laxatives to flush the colon. It is imperative that you follow the instructions given to you by your Specialists in Gastroenterology provider. There will also be instructions regarding your medications. Typically, your medications will be taken as usual. However, in certain circumstances, specifically in individuals prescribed blood thinners (i.e. Coumadin®, warfarin, Plavix®, aspirin, NSAIDs) and in those with diabetes, specialized instructions will be given. Patients will be directed to take nothing orally any later than midnight except for medications.

You will be instructed to arrive at the endoscopy center an hour to an hour and a half before your flexible sigmoidoscopy. This will allow you time to complete paperwork and prepare for the procedure. You will be directed to put on a hospital gown. No IV will be started since, typically, sedation is not given for this exam. You may be hooked up to equipment that will permit the staff and provider to monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, pulse, electrocardiogram, breathing, and oxygen level throughout and after the procedure.

Once in the exam room, you'll be instructed to lie down on your left side on the exam table. Then, your GI specialist will carry out an exam of your rectum. The sigmoidoscope will then be slowly inserted into the rectum. The scope will be carefully advanced through the sigmoid colon. A tiny bit of air is inserted through the tube into the colon to help the provider see. Any fluid still in the colon after the preparation can be washed and suctioned out by the scope. Depending on the exam results, a number of complications can be done at the time of the exam including removal of polyps, control of bleeding, and biopsies. At the end of the exam, all possible remaining fluid and air are removed from the colon via the scope. Depending on the results, the procedure usually takes 5 – 15 minutes.

Because anesthesia is not usually necessary, once the exam is concluded you will be allowed to change back into your clothes and can leave the endoscopy center. Assuming sedation is not needed, you will be allowed to perform can return to your daily routine. Most individuals are free to eat and drink normally following their discharge from the endoscopy unit, however, specific guidelines regarding eating, medication, and activities will be given to you before discharge. Following the exam, the nurse and/or specialist will review the exam results with you. You will also go home with a written report. We will notify you of any results from biopsies in 7 days or less.

Typically, sigmoidoscopy is a very safe procedure. Overall, complications occur in less than 1% of cases. Most complications are not serious, however, in the rare event of a complication, it might call for hospitalization and surgery. Before the procedure, a consent form will be reviewed with you by the nursing staff. Should any concerns or questions arise, these can be reviewed with your physician before the beginning of the procedure.

Bleeding can occur with biopsies and the removal of polyps. To reiterate, significant bleeding that necessitates hospitalization or a blood transfusion is highly uncommon. However, bleeding may occur at the time of the procedure or as long as two weeks post-exam in the case that a polyp is removed.

Puncture or perforation of the large intestine can occur. This may be found during the exam, or it may not be apparent until later in the day. In most cases, a puncture will require hospitalization and surgery. This is a rare complication, even when polyps are excised. It is important that you contact your specialist's office promptly if symptoms manifest after the procedure such as worsening abdominal pain, bleeding, or fever.

As with any other test, a sigmoidoscopy is not always perfect. There exists a small, accepted risk that tissue abnormalities including cancer and polyps can be missed during the exam. It is of the utmost importance to remain vigilant and to follow up with your specialist as directed. Be sure to make them aware of any new or ongoing symptoms. Please consult with your Specialists in Gastroenterology provider if you have any concerns or questions.

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To an extent, the alternatives to this exam will depend on why you need to undergo the sigmoidoscopy in the first place. There are other types of x-rays available that can evaluate the colon, like a barium enema or virtual CT scan. However, these x-rays are only diagnostic exams. Mitigating any identified anomalies will require a sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, or surgery. To hear more about a flexible sigmoidoscopy in St. Louis, MO or to discuss your options for diagnosis and treatment of your problem, connect with one of our gastroenterologists at a location near you.

A flexible sigmoidoscopy could assist in identifying the source of uncomfortable GI symptoms such as diarrhea, bleeding, and abdominal pain. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact an experienced gastroenterology provider today. You can find a local GI specialist at any of our St. Louis, MO Specialists in Gastroenterology locations. Our practice strives to provide the utmost in patient-centered care and clinical standards. To arrange for your flexible sigmoidoscopy or another endoscopic procedure, connect with our team to request a consultation.

Dr Root is a Professional, Courteous He put me at ease before and after my procedure. Thank you for the care I received A+

D.M. Google

I had came to Dr. Thyssen for a second opinion cause my other stomach Doctor kept telling me all my test came back normal and Dr. Thyssen stayed up most of the night before my appointment going through my medical records and he told me what I had thought that I had and even gave me Medication for my IBS-C and my other Doctor was not treating me for that I am so happy I found Dr. Thyssen cause I was so depressed and in a lot of pain all the time now because of him I'm enjoying life all the pain and bloating is gone. I'm truly thankful for Dr. Thyssen. Marlena Hinkle

S. Google

Dr. Singh was professional, attentive, and listened well.

M.P. Google

Very friendly staff. Dr Thyssen is the greatest.

J.J. Google

I have been a patient there for a while now. Staff is always friendly and helpful. Dr. Banerjee listens to your concerns and does not rush you. I would recommend him to anyone with stomach issues .

L.B. Google


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