Flexible Sigmoidoscopy in Indianapolis, IN

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A flexible sigmoidoscopy is an endoscopic diagnostic technique during which a thin, long, bendable tube, or “scope,” is positioned into the rectum and then progressed through the lower third of the large intestine. As such, this exam has some limitations in that the entirety of the colon will not be seen. The tube is equipped with a light and a camera on its end which allows the doctor to examine the colon's lining. A sigmoidoscopy may be used to:

  • Loose or watery stools
  • Diagnose the cause of gastrointestinal symptoms like:
    • Bleeding
    • Painful abdomen
    • Abnormal x-ray results
  • As a screening tool for colon cancer and polyps.

Our digestive health providers perform flexible sigmoidoscopies for Indianapolis, IN patients. If you are suffering from any troubling symptoms in relation to your digestive tract such as the above listed, then contact Indianapolis Gastroenterology and Hepatology to receive help in deciding if a flexible sigmoidoscopy could be a helpful test for you.

You will receive directions from your GI specialist in regard to the required bowel prep to perform in advance of your exam. The majority of individuals will be on clear liquids all day, the day before the procedure. There are a number of individual types of laxatives to flush the colon. It is of the utmost importance that you adhere to the instructions given to you by your Indianapolis Gastroenterology and Hepatology specialist. In addition, there will be instructions pertaining to your medications. In most cases, any medications will be continued as usual. However, in certain circumstances, especially in patients on blood thinners (i.e. Coumadin®, warfarin, Plavix®, aspirin, NSAIDs) and in diabetics, individual direction will be given. You will be told not to take anything by mouth any later than midnight with an exception for some medications.

Plan to be told to present at the endoscopy center 1 to 1.5 hours prior to your flexible sigmoidoscopy. This will allow adequate time to complete all forms and get prepared for the exam. You'll be asked to don a medical gown. Usually, no IV will be started since, usually, sedation is not given with this procedure. You could be connected to technology that will permit the staff and provider to monitor your pulse, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, oxygen levels, and electrocardiogram during and following the exam.

Once in the exam room, you'll be asked to lie down on your left side of the bed. The gastroenterologist will carry out a rectal exam. The sigmoidoscope will then be slowly placed into the rectum. The scope will be carefully advanced through the sigmoid colon. A small bit of air is inserted through the tube into the colon to assist in the physician's visualization. Any liquid still in the colon following the preparation can be washed and removed through the scope. Depending on the findings of the exam, a few things can be done during the procedure including removal of polyps, control of bleeding, and biopsies. At the end of the procedure, all possible remaining fluid and air are suctioned out of the colon by way of the scope. Depending on the results, the procedure takes approximately 5 – 15 minutes to conduct.

Because anesthesia is not usually needed after the procedure is finished, the patient is asked to change back into their clothes and is released from the endoscopy center. If sedation is not needed, you will be able to perform your normal activities as well as drive. The majority of patients are able to eat and drink regularly after their release from the endoscopy unit, however, individualized directions in regard to activity, eating, and medications will be provided to the patient prior to discharge. Following the exam, the doctor and/or nurse will go over the findings of the procedure with you. You will also go home with a typed report. The patient will be made aware of any biopsy results in 7 days or less.

Ordinarily, sigmoidoscopy is an extremely safe procedure. In all, negative side effects are experienced by less than 1% of cases. The majority of complications are not life-threatening, however, should a complication occur, it might necessitate surgery and/or hospitalization. In advance of the procedure, a consent form will be reviewed with the you by the staff. Should any concerns or questions come up, these may be discussed with your specialist before the beginning of the procedure.

Bleeding could occur with biopsies and the removal of polyps. Again, significant bleeding which could require hospitalization or a blood transfusion is extremely unusual. Still, bleeding may happen at the time of the exam or as long as two weeks after the procedure in the event that a polyp is excised.

Perforation or puncture of the colon may take place. This can be noticed at the time of the exam, or it might not become obvious until a short time later. In most cases, a perforation will require surgery and hospitalization. This is an atypical complication, even in the event that polyps are excised. It is imperative that the patient inform the provider’s office promptly if symptoms become present following the procedure such as worsening abdominal pain, fever or bleeding.

Just like any other test, a sigmoidoscopy is not always perfect. There is a small, recognized chance that abnormalities including polyps and cancers can be overlooked at the time of the procedure. It is crucial to remain vigilant and to maintain check-ups with your physicians as directed and inform them of any new or ongoing symptoms. Please consult with your Indianapolis Gastroenterology and Hepatology doctor in the event that you think of any concerns or questions.

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To a large degree, any alternatives to the exam will be dependent upon the cause of needing the sigmoidoscopy in the first place. There exist several x-rays which can evaluate the colon including a barium enema or virtual CT scan. These tests are however only diagnostic exams. Mitigation of any identified abnormalities will call for colonoscopy, surgery, or sigmoidoscopy. To learn more regarding flexible sigmoidoscopy in Indianapolis, IN, or about your options for diagnosis and treatment of your condition, we urge you to contact our GI providers.

A flexible sigmoidoscopy might assist in identifying the root cause of worrisome gastroenterology symptoms such as diarrhea, bleeding, and abdominal pain. If you begin presenting with any of these symptoms, connect with a skilled GI specialist immediately. You can locate a local gastroenterology physician through Indianapolis Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Our network strives to provide the utmost in patient-centered care and clinical standards. To learn more about receiving a flexible sigmoidoscopy in Indianapolis, IN, or another endoscopic procedure, contact our providers without delay.

Dr. Morelli is the utmost professional and learned physicians I've ever met. He has helped me with my digestive diagnosis and illness with such compassion and concern. I'm grateful to him

A.S. Google

Katlyn is the best takes her time and listens. I met with her my last visit. Dr Vincent is great also very thorough.

B.T. Google

Always goes smooth, no long waits, staff all seem to care about your health...

D.K. Google

I discovered that Dr. Morelli is very nice and listened intently to my issues. He explained things I a manner that I could understand. Very thorough in his explanation of the next process. Look forward to getting better soon.

M.S. Google

Dr. Crane spent a great deal of time with me, answering my many questions and dealing with my concerns. He never made me feel as if I had to hurry through my appointment. This meant a great deal to me.

D.B. Google


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