ph. (03) 9885 8100 Fax: (03) 9885 6495

Suite 2A/330 High St,
Ashburton 3147
Suite 6, 243 New St,
Brighton 3186

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy is an examination of the left or lower side of the large bowel with a fibre optic scope. The scope is approximately 200cm long and 12mm in diameter. Images of the large bowel lining are seen during flexible Sigmoidoscopy in real time on a monitor.

This procedure is performed to investigate symptoms such as diarrhoea and rectal bleeding. This procedure is also undertaken to monitor ulcerative colitis, and to look at sites of previous polyp removal. Flexible sigmoidoscopy is mainly used in patients who have had almost all of their large bowel removed, or in patients who are following up issues from a previous colonoscopy examination.


You will be required to fast from midnight prior to the day of your morning procedure. (This means nothing to eat or drink, including lollies and chewing gum). Ensure that you arrive at your designated time. It is recommended that you bring along something to read or do as your arrival time is prior to your procedure time. You will be required to confirm admission details and change into a hospital gown. Whilst every effort is made to not keep you waiting too long, medical procedures are unpredictable and sometimes more complex than anticipated. This can result in a longer than anticipated waiting time.

You will be given an enema on arival. It is expected that the average time spent at the hospital/day procedure centre will be between 3-4 hours. However, that time frame is only a guide. Your "pickup person" will be telephoned and advised of your anticipated collection time.

Do not bring any valuables with you. Wear loose, comfortable clothing as you will be required to change. Do bring your private insurance and Medicare details.

Following sedation you are not allowed to drive home, ride a bike or operate dangerous machinery for the rest of the day/night. Do not sign any legal documents or drink alcohol during that same period of time. On the morning of the following day you can resume all normal activities.


Any activity carries some risk. Even driving a car. Any medical procedure is not different. However this procedure is not classified as a high risk procedure.

The most common complaint after a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy is feeling bloated. This will be caused by air that was blown into your bowel. This is undertaken lo achieve optimum views of the bowel lining. This usually clears quickly.

Bleeding can occur after polyps are removed or rarely after biopsies are taken. ln polyp removal, bleeding can occur up to 2 weeks after the procedure. lf you have any concerns that you are bleeding after a procedure contact Dr Desmond's rooms or proceed to your closest emergency deparlment.

It is rare for an infection to occur after a flexible sigmoidoscopy. Each piece of equipment used is subject to stringent cleaning protocols following each procedure.

Perforation after Flexible Sigmoidoscopy has been quantified at less than 1/1000 cases for a standard procedure. Removal of larger polyps increase this risk. ln the case of a perforation, it is possible surgery may be required.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy is not an infallible test. Even with the best of care some areas of the bowel cannot be seen and as such some lesions, including possible cancers, can be missed.

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Suite 2A/330 High St,
Ashburton 3147
Ph: 9885 8100
Fax: 9885 6495
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Cabrini Brighton, Suite 6
243 New St.,
Brighton 3186
Ph: 9885 8100
Fax 9885 6495
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