Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Animation Movie AvailableRelated Media: Lower GI Endoscopy

To see an animated version of this procedure, click Procedure InMotion .


A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a visual exam of the rectum and lower portion of the colon (large intestine). The exam is done with a tool called a flexible sigmoidoscope. The sigmoidoscope is a flexible tube with a tiny camera on the end. This instrument allows the doctor to see inside your rectum and colon.
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Reasons for Procedure

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is used to examine and diagnose problems inside your rectum and lower colon. The procedure is most often done to:

Possible Complications

Complications are rare. But no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a sigmoidoscopy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
  • Bleeding
  • Perforation or puncture of the bowel wall
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
  • Pre-existing heart or kidney condition
  • Treatment with certain medications, including aspirin and other drugs with anticoagulant or blood-thinning properties
  • Prior abdominal surgery or radiation therapy

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