Rigid sigmoidoscopy

Rigid sigmoidoscopy is the visual examination of the rectum (and sometimes the lower part of the sigmoid colon) via a 25 cm (10 inch) long rigid metal or plastic tube.  While it is true that approximately 30% of polyps and cancers develop within the 25 cm region of the bowel theoretically reached by the rigid sigmoidoscope, it is rarely practical to go the full 25 cm due to patient discomfort.  The typical distance examined at the Pezim Clinic with this instrument is 7 to 13 cm (4 to 5 inches).  Anything more and most patients will have pain.  If it is felt that a higher examination is required, a flexible instrument examination will be arranged.

Rigid sigmoidoscope has been shown to significantly reduce death from colorectal cancer within the part that it does examine.  It is generally carried out in the doctor’s office, without sedation.  Some physicians ask the patient to prepare their bowel ahead of time with one or two enemas.  At the Pezim Clinic we do not.

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