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Colonoscopy / Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Colonoscopy & Sigmoidoscopy Give Doctors a Look into the Colon & Rectum

When doctors need to see inside the colon and rectum, they usually turn to colonoscopy. A colonoscopy involves a colonoscope, a flexible, tube-like instrument with a light and camera used to see inside the colon. Besides allowing the doctor to see any colon problems, colonoscopy can be used to take small tissue samples for biopsy and for treating a wide variety of conditions that affect the lower digestive tract.

The Digestive Health Institute's colon and rectal surgeons, Dr. Allen Chudzinski and Dr. Haane Massarotti, offer advanced colonoscopy to perform minimally invasive procedures. Patients benefit by not only having a closed surgical procedure, but one that leaves them without external scars.

Colonoscopy for Colon Cancer Screening

Many people will have several colonoscopies in their lifetime because this procedure is used for regular screening of colon and rectal cancers. Most people should have their first colonoscopy at age 50 and then repeat this screening every 10 years. Others with a personal or family history of colorectal cancer may need to have them more often or at a younger age. Colonoscopy is the only widely used cancer screening that not only detects but prevents cancer. If a polyp—a precancerous growth—is found, the doctor can remove it with the colonoscope right on the spot. This is important because, after lung cancer, colorectal cancer causes the most cancer-related deaths in the U.S.

Colonoscopy for Treatment of Sigmoid Volvulus

Sigmoid volvulus is a blockage caused by the intestine twisting on itself. Very often, this condition can be treated with a colonoscopy. When the doctor passes the scope through the intestine, it usually untwists.

What a Colonoscopy Involves

While some people shy away from colonoscopy thinking it will be uncomfortable, the providers at DHI are very efficient. They have reduced colonoscopy to a 30-minute procedure. Because patients are sedated, the procedure involves only minor discomfort. The cancer prevention and peace of mind colonoscopy provides is more than worth it.

Having a colonoscopy requires some preparation, and you will need to closely follow your doctor’s instructions. A special colonoscopy prep kit will involve a laxative to clean out the contents of your digestive tract the day before your procedure. During prep, you are allowed to drink a clear liquid diet.

On the day of the procedure, you will be made comfortable through sedation. Your doctor will gently feed a colonoscope through the anus, up through the rectum and into the colon. All along the way, the doctor will be looking for unusual growths or polyps. If one of these is spotted, it will be removed through the colonoscope. The colonoscope may also be used to take biopsy samples of larger areas of abnormal tissue.

Risks Associated with Colonoscopy

There are some risks involved with colonoscopy. These include bleeding (if polyps were removed or biopsy samples taken) and tearing in the colon or rectal wall. However, these risks are rare, especially when receiving a colonoscopy from a physician experienced in providing them like the gastroenterologists and colorectal surgeons at DHI.

Besides screening for and treating cancer, other conditions colonoscopy is used for include colon inflammation, ulcers, and gastrointestinal bleeding.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Sometimes another colorectal endoscopy procedure called a flexible sigmoidoscopy is used to look for the cause of gastrointestinal bleeding as well as chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain or bowel changes. A skilled physician can perform a sigmoidoscopy in about 15 minutes—half the time of a colonoscopy—or a little longer if tissue samples need to be taken. While prep is pretty much the same as for colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy does not require sedation because involves very little discomfort. The drawback is that sigmoidoscopy does not allow the doctor to see all of the colon, but only the part called the sigmoid colon.

What Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Involves

The gastroenterologist or colorectal surgeon will gently place the sigmoidoscope through the rectum and into the colon. A small amount of air will inflate the colon to help the doctor see it better. If needed, tissue samples for biopsy can be taken during a sigmoidoscopy. However, if the test finds areas of concern, they will probably need more testing. If sigmoidoscopy is used for colorectal cancer screening, the test will need to be done every five years instead of every ten.

To schedule a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy at DHI, call (813) 615-7557.



At DHI, we know that after being diagnosed with cancer, patients want and often need to begin treatment quickly. So we make it a priority to offer appointments for cancer surgery consultations within 5 business days, and often earlier. Our surgeons will make themselves available to see you right away, even for a second opinion.

Patients who are newly diagnosed with cancer, or have just found out they have cancer recurrence, qualify for this priority access. Our surgeons will make themselves available to see you right away, even for a second opinion. We want to help you start your treatment as soon as possible.

If you have been diagnosed with a cancer of the digestive system, don’t wait.
Call the Digestive Health Institute at (813) 615-7440.

Learn more about our Surgical Cancer Care program.

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