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A rigid sigmoidoscopy is a procedure to look at the inside your sigmoid colon (last one-third of your colon) and rectum using a small rigid telescope (proctoscope).

What is a rigid sigmoidoscopy?

A rigid sigmoidoscopy is a procedure to look at the inside your sigmoid colon (last one-third of your colon) and rectum using a small rigid telescope (proctoscope). It is performed to look for tumours, polyps, inflammation, bleeding or haemorrhoids.

What are the benefits of a rigid sigmoidoscopy?

If you are experiencing symptoms such as pain in the lower abdomen, changes in your bowel habits, bleeding from your anus, diarrhoea and/or unexplained weight loss, your consultant may suggest a rigid sigmoidoscopy. A rigid sigmoidoscopy will help your consultant look for any abnormalitis

If your consultant finds a problem, they can remove small pieces of tissue for biopsy to help make a diagnosis.

What happens during a rigid sigmoidoscopy?

Preparing for a rigid sigmoidoscopy

Your consultant will advise you on how to prepare for your rigid sigmoidoscopy; this may include an enema when you arrive on the ward. Be sure and advise us of any medication you are currently taking.

During a rigid sigmoidoscopy

A rigid sigmoidoscopy (or proctoscopy) usually takes about 30 minutes. You may be offered a relaxant or some Entonox (laughing gas) to help you relax before the procedure.

Patients usually lie on their side on the examination table. The endoscopist will apply lubricant to the rigid telescope (proctoscope) before gently inserting it into your anus. Air will be blown into your large bowel to expand it so that they have a clear view. Images from the scope will be relayed onto a screen. The endoscopist will be able to look for problems such as inflammation or polyps. They will be able to perform biopsies (take samples) and take photographs to help make the diagnosis.

Recovery from a rigid sigmoidoscopy

Rigid sigmoidoscopies are usually performed as an outpatient procedure, so you should be able to go home the same day and carry on with regular activities right away.

You may feel a bit bloated for a few hours but this will pass. You may experience slight bleeding just after this procedure.

If you were given a sedative, you will normally recover in about an hour. A responsible adult should take you home in a car or taxi and stay with you for at least 12 hours. Be near a telephone in the case of an emergency. Additionally, you should not drive, operate machinery or do any potentially dangerous activities (this includes cooking) for at least 24 hours and not until you have fully recovered feeling, movement and coordination.

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