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Sigmoidoscopy (Anoscopy, Proctoscopy)

How It Is Done continued...

Once you are in position:

  • Your doctor will gently insert a gloved finger into your anus. For men, your doctor will also check the condition of the prostate gland camera.gif.
  • The lubricated scope is then inserted camera.gif. The scope is moved slowly forward into the rectum and lower colon. During a sigmoidoscopy, puffs of air sometimes are blown through the scope to open the colon so that your doctor can see more clearly.
  • Suction may be used to remove watery stool, enema liquid, mucus, or blood through the scope.
  • Once your doctor has moved the scope forward as far as possible, it is slowly withdrawn while tissue is carefully inspected camera.gif.
  • Your doctor may also insert tiny instruments (forceps, loops, swabs) through the scope to collect tissue samples (biopsy) or to remove growths. Tissue samples may be sent to a laboratory for examination.

The entire examination usually takes 5 to 15 minutes, slightly longer if tissue samples are taken or if polyps are removed.

After the test

After the scope is removed, your anal area will be cleaned with tissues. If you are having cramps, passing gas may help relieve them.

If you received a sedative during the test, do not drive, operate machinery, or sign legal documents for 24 hours after the test. Arrange to have someone drive you home after the test.

After the test you may resume your regular diet, unless your doctor gives you other directions. Be sure to drink plenty of liquids to replace those you have lost during the preparation for the sigmoidoscopy.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 30, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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