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Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a common procedure in Gastroenterology performed by a GI Doctor or Gastroenterologist. Flexible sigmoidoscopy is identical to a colonoscopy but differs in that the camera is only advanced partially into the large intestine/colon (see illustration). The endoscopist only views a portion of the colon, including the descending colon, sigmoid colon, and rectum. The scope is not advanced further. This type of procedure does not typically require anesthesia and a patient only prepare using 2 enemas.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy is performed to identify causes of rectal bleeding, diarrhea, changes in bowel habit, and lower abdominal pain. It can be used for colon cancer screening every 5 years but does not view the entire colon.
For sigmoidoscopy preparation instructions, click here for more information.