What the hospital might do
sigmoidoscopy (flexi-sig) is a short colonoscopy – a way of looking at the
inside of the rectum and lower colon through your bottom with a thin bendy
tube. It is a quick, very safe examination that can reach 60-70cms into your
colon in most cases.
takes about 3-5 minutes to do the test and, although it can be a bit
uncomfortable for some patients, it is more acceptable to most than the older
steel rigid instrument called a rigid sigmoidoscope, which only looks inside
your rectum and perhaps the lower part of your sigmoid colon. The flexi-sig
examines higher up the bowel than the older types of rigid instruments because
it can cope with the bends in the bowel. It is very effective and can be done
without any sedation in Out Patients with minimal cleansing of the bowel. This
is usually done at home using an enema sent through the post with your hospital
patients may need help from a relative or a district nurse, which can be arranged
by their GP.
fact the hospital clinician will be able to do the examination very
successfully even without preparation in most patients. So if you can’t manage the enema, it is
perfectly OK to keep your appointment without any bowel cleansing.
colonoscopy is similar to a flexi sig but examines the lining of the whole
colon to the appendix or caecum. Full
cleansing of the bowel is required, which
means taking a preparation the day before, which can be unpleasant. No solid food is allowed until after the
test. Your hospital will give you full details of what is involved.
before the test, a sedative is usually given and then a thin, flexible tube is
passed into the back passage and guided around the bowel.
polyps are found, most can be removed painlessly, using a wire loop passed down
the colonoscope tube. These tissue samples are then checked for any abnormal
cells that might be cancerous. Because sedation is given, you will probably
need to be collected and taken home. For much older patients, sometimes it is
important to have someone with them for the first night after the examination.
There is now an alternative to colonoscopy, which doesn’t need sedation
although you will still need bowel cleansing. This is called CT colonography or
virtual colonoscopy and is a form of X-ray which uses computers to build up an
image of your bowel and all your other abdominal organs. If you are keen to
avoid colonoscopy ask our doctor about this. It’s down side is that if the CT
shows you have a polyp you may still need a colonoscopy as well!
X-ray examination with laxatives taken the day before to clear out the
bowel. On the day, the colon is filled
with a thick white liquid (barium sulphate) and X-rays taken from several
angles. Expensive and less frequently
used to diagnose bowel cancer these days
Colonoscopy or CT colonography
is a bit like a computer game of your insides, using scanners and computers to
look inside the bowel for polyps and other problems. The scanner uses X-rays to
produce two-dimensional and three-dimensional images of the colon and rectum.