Flexible sigmoidoscopy looks at the left side of colon using a flexible, lighted tube to search for abnormal growths or inflammation of the colon wall. The anal canal is also examined.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy is not used as frequently as before, since colonoscopy is a better option to prevent and detect early colon cancer. But sigmoidoscopy is still useful option as the screening test, and it also can diagnose inflammation of the colon from diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. Other colon conditions such as diverticulosis can also be diagnosed.
The simple bowel preparation is required. Your doctor will give you the detailed instructions. There may be some discomfort and abdominal pressure. Air is placed in the colon to allow for viewing, which may cause cramping.
Most procedures do not require biopsies, but sometimes it’s needed. The biopsy is performed by clipping a small piece of tissue inside the colon and removing it through the viewing tube.