Flexible Sigmoidoscopy in New Orleans, LA

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A flexible sigmoidoscopy is an endoscopic diagnostic technique during which a thin, long, flexible tube, or “scope,” is placed into the rectum and advanced into the lower third of the large intestine. As indicated, this technique has some limitations in that the entirety of the colon cannot be viewed. The scope has a camera and a light at its end which allows the provider to closely inspect the colon's lining. A sigmoidoscopy can be used to:

  • Determine the cause of gastrointestinal symptoms including but not limited to:
    • Bleeding from the rectum
    • Abdominal pain
    • Loose or watery stools
    • Concerning x-ray results
  • To screen for colon cancer and polyps

Our digestive health providers conduct flexible sigmoidoscopies for New Orleans, LA patients regularly. If you are experiencing any worrisome symptoms relating to your gastrointestinal tract like those listed above, consult with a Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates provider near you to determine if a flexible sigmoidoscopy might be beneficial to you.

You will be provided with directions from your gastroenterologist about the necessary bowel preparation to get you ready for your exam. Most people will be instructed to consume only clear liquids for the entirety of the day, 24 hours ahead of the procedure. There are many different types of laxatives to flush the colon. It is important to follow the instructions provided to you by your Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates gastroenterologist. In addition, there will be instructions regarding your medications. The majority of the time, medications can be continued as usual. However, occasionally, specifically in people taking blood thinners (i.e. Coumadin®, warfarin, Plavix®, aspirin, NSAIDs) and in those with diabetes, individual instructions will be given. You will be told not to take anything orally any later than midnight with an exception for some medications.

Plan to be told to arrive at the endoscopy center 1 – 1.5 hours before your flexible sigmoidoscopy. This is to ensure adequate time to fill out paperwork and get ready for the exam. You'll be told to change into a hospital gown. Usually, no IV will be started since, typically, sedation is not administered for this test. You might be hooked up to technology that will allow the provider and staff to monitor your pulse, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, oxygen levels, and electrocardiogram throughout and following the exam.

Once in the exam room, you will be told to lie down on your left on the table. The provider will perform an exam of your rectum. The sigmoidoscope will then be gently inserted just inside the rectum. The scope will be carefully advanced through the sigmoid colon. A tiny amount of air is inserted by way of the tube into the colon to assist in the gastroenterologist's visualization. Any liquid still in the colon after the preparation can be washed and suctioned out through the scope. Pending on the results of the exam, a few complications can be taken care of during the exam including biopsies, removal of polyps, and control of bleeding. After the exam, as much of the air and remaining fluid as possible is suctioned out of the colon via the scope. According to the findings, the exam usually takes 5 – 15 minutes to complete.

Since sedation is not generally used, once the exam is concluded the patient is directed to change back into their clothes and is released from the endoscopy unit. Assuming sedation is not needed, you'll be released to perform your normal activities as well as drive. Most individuals are ready to drink and eat normally following their release from the endoscopy center, however, personalized directions regarding activity, eating, and medications will be provided to you before discharge. After the exam, the nurse and/or your provider will review the findings of the exam with you. You will also be sent home with a typed report. The patient will be alerted of any results from biopsies in 7 days or less.

Typically, a sigmoidoscopy is an extremely safe test. In all, complications occur in fewer than 1% of cases. The majority of complications are not serious, however, if a complication occurs, it can require hospitalization and surgery. Prior to the exam, a consent form will be reviewed with you by the staff. Should any concerns or questions come up, these can be brought up and explained by your specialist before the procedure.

Bleeding may occur with the removal of polyps and biopsies. Again, significant bleeding which might involve hospitalization or a blood transfusion is very uncommon. However, bleeding can happen at the time of the procedure or up to two weeks after the test in the case that a polyp is excised.

Puncture or perforation of the large intestine can occur. This may be noticed at the time of the exam, or it might not become apparent until a short time later. In the majority of cases, a puncture will require surgery and hospitalization. This is an uncommon complication, even when polyps are extracted. It is vital that you consult with your provider's office immediately if symptoms become present after the procedure such as growing abdominal pain, bleeding, or fever.

As with any other procedure, a sigmoidoscopy is not perfect. There is a slight, acknowledged chance that tissue abnormalities including polyps and cancers can be missed at the time of the exam. It is of the utmost importance to continue to follow up with your digestive health specialist as directed and make them aware of any new or ongoing symptoms. Please talk with your Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates specialist if you have any questions or concerns.

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To a large degree, any alternatives to the procedure will depend on the cause of needing to undergo the sigmoidoscopy in the first place. There are several x-rays that can evaluate the colon, including a barium enema or virtual CT scan. These methods are, however, only diagnostic exams. Treatment of any identified abnormalities will require a sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, or surgery. To hear more about having a flexible sigmoidoscopy in New Orleans, LA or about any alternatives for treating and diagnosing your condition, we suggest you get in touch with the gastroenterology staff at a Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates location near you.

A flexible sigmoidoscopy may assist in identifying the cause of uncomfortable GI symptoms like pain in the abdomen, diarrhea, and bleeding. If you are experiencing any of these listed symptoms, call an expert GI specialist at your earliest convenience. You can locate a local GI provider through Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates. Our organization aims to give you the best in patient-centered care and clinical standards. To arrange for your flexible sigmoidoscopy in New Orleans, LA or any other endoscopic exam, contact our providers without delay.

Dr. Hymel and his staff are so very efficient and caring. Dr. Hymel is also extremely thorough and takes as much time needed with me. Great place for quality treatment.

S.S. Google

My experience on the day of my F/U visit was great.

M.E. Google

Outstanding. Such kind and informative staff.

C.W. Google

DrLilly is the best!!

S. Google

Amazing care! Wouldn’t trust my body to anyone else!!!

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