This test is used to look at the lower part of the large intestine/bowel. This test can be used to assess for symptoms such as rectal bleeding, left sided abdominal pain or change in bowel habit.
The sigmoidoscope or colonoscope is a long flexible tube with a light and camera at the tip. The test involves passing the flexible sigmoidoscope or colonoscope from the anus to the splenic flexure of the large bowel. The camera transmits images to the monitor allowing the doctor to assess the colon for any abnormalities.
Preparation for the test
Since this test only aims to assess the left side of the colon, adequate bowel preparation can be achieved with a phosphate enema. This can be administered by the patient at home prior to travelling to the hospital for the test or can be administered by endoscopy staff on the day of the test.
Commonly the test is performed without any sedation, since it is limited to examining the left colon. However, conscious sedation can be administered via a cannula placed in the vein if you wish.