A flexible sigmoidoscopy looks inside the lower part of your large bowel. It is used to confirm whether there are any abnormalities present and also as a general screening tool for colon cancer.
What is a flexible sigmoidoscopy
A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a minimally invasive day case procedure that checks the lower part of your large bowel for signs of cancer and investigates symptoms such as persistent diarrhoea, bleeding from your bottom, and constipation. It takes just ten to 20 minutes to perform.
A thin and flexible tube with a camera on the end, called a sigmoidoscope, is carefully inserted into your back passage. Your endoscopist looks at images of your sigmoid colon on a video monitor. They may pass small amounts of gas through the sigmoidoscope into your lower bowel to make it easier to see. The tube is about the thickness of your index finger.
Sometimes small tissue samples, called biopsies of your bowel are taken for analysis.
How painful is a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a quick test that is generally not painful. It may be mildly uncomfortable and you might feel a slight pinch if your surgeon needs to take a tissue sample biopsy.
After a flexible sigmoidoscopy, you may experience some cramping or the need to pass gas but this will pass quickly.
What is the difference between a flexible sigmoidoscopy and a colonoscopy?
A flexible sigmoidoscopy and a colonoscopy are both common tests to examine the health of your digestive system and to help diagnose digestive illnesses.
A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a quick test that only examines your sigmoid colon which is the lower part of your colon or large intestine. The endoscope used in sigmoidoscopy is shorter than in a colonoscope and so it doesn't allow your doctor to see your entire colon.
A colonoscopy looks at the whole of your large intestine right up to the end of your small intestine. As a colonoscope is longer and looks further it can be more uncomfortable than a flexible sigmoidoscopy and you may need a sedative.
Your doctor will advise you which test they recommend based on your symptoms and medical history.
What does a sigmoidoscopy show?
A sigmoidoscopy shows any abnormalities in the lower part of your large intestine, including polyps, ulcers, abnormal cells and bowel cancer.
A sample of tissue may be taken to check for any abnormal cell changes.
What is the recovery process after a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
You should be able to go home the same day. If you had a sedative, you will need to have an adult to drive you home and stay with you for the rest of the day. If you haven't had a sedative, you will be able to go home when you are ready.
You should be able to return to your usual activities the same day.
If gas is used during the procedure you might feel bloated or have some mild cramping pain. This usually settles after a few hours.
Before you leave, a member of the healthcare team will explain the findings of your sigmoidoscopy. If biopsies were taken, they will be sent to the pathology lab for further analysis. We will advise you of the results when we receive them.
What is the cost of a flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure
You will receive a formal quotation price following your consultation with one of our expert surgeons. This formal quote for your flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure will be valid for 60 days and includes unlimited aftercare.
Ramsay is recognised by all major medical insurers. Flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure is covered by most medical insurance policies. We advise you to obtain written authorisation from your insurance provider before starting your treatment.
We have a number of finance options if you are paying for your sigmoidoscopy yourself. These include:
- Interest-free finance – 0% interest, no deposit and affordable monthly instalments.
- All-inclusive Total Care - one-off pre-agreed payment for access to all the treatment you need for complete reassurance.
- Pay as you go – flexible funding to pay for treatment as and when costs arise. Often used if your treatment costs are difficult to assess.
Flexible Sigmoidoscopy at Ramsay Health Care UK
Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a routine procedure at Ramsay Health Care UK. Highly experienced endoscopists will perform a sigmoidoscopy to investigate your symptoms
You can book a flexible sigmoidoscopy appointment without waiting. If your Ramsay hospital of choice has a purpose-built endoscopy unit then your sigmoidoscopy will be performed in this unit. Our dedicated endoscopy units have the latest equipment as well as JAG accreditation for high-quality endoscopy services.
You will be able to rest in our private and comfortable recovery area, and go home the same day.
Patient and staff safety are our primary concern. All Ramsay hospitals follow strict protocols to control and prevent infection, including Covid 19.