A flexible sigmoidoscopy is performed to evaluate the distal part of the colon.
A rectal exam is performed first. A thin, flexible tube, or endoscope, is then inserted through the anus and advanced usually no more than the distal 1/3 of the colon (15 to 20 inches). The endoscope is equipped with a camera and has a channel to allow insertion of air to visualize the colon. Any remaining liquid stool can also usually be suctioned. The endoscope also has ports to allow the physician to perform different procedures, such as biopsies, and polypectomies (removal of polyps).
Cleansing the lower part of your colon will typically be performed using enemas. Your doctor will provide you with specific instructions regarding your bowel preparation at the time you schedule your flexible sigmoidoscopy appointment. Your doctor may also ask that you refrain from taking certain medications, such as aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-platelet agents, warfarin (Coumadin), or other blood thinners.