Saturday, April 23, 2011

alternatives to sigmoidoscopy

About sigmoidoscopy

A flexible sigmoidoscopy allows your doctor to look inside your rectum (back passage) and lower part of your bowel using a narrow, flexible, tube-like telescopic camera called a sigmoidoscope. The procedure can also be carried out using a rigid tube (rigid sigmoidoscopy). However, you are more likely to have a flexible sigmoidoscopy as it allows your doctor to see more of your bowel than a rigid sigmoidoscopy.

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is routinely done in an endoscopy clinic and you don't usually need an anaesthetic or sedation.

During the procedure, your doctor may take one or more biopsies (samples of tissue) for examination in a laboratory. If necessary, it's possible to remove polyps and treat haemorrhoids during the procedure.

What are the alternatives to sigmoidoscopy?

Depending on your symptoms and circumstances, it may be possible to diagnose your bowel condition using a different test. The alternatives are listed below.

    * Barium enema - this involves placing a fluid containing barium (a substance which shows up on X-rays) into your bowel via your rectum. X-ray images of your abdomen (tummy) can then show the inside of your bowel more clearly.
    * Virtual colonoscopy - this involves having a CT scan of your abdomen. The CT scan uses X-rays to produce three-dimensional images of your lower bowel (colon) and rectum.
    * Faecal occult blood (FOB) test- this looks for hidden blood in your faeces. A positive result in this test may not mean you definitely have a bowel condition, because other conditions such as gum disease, can also cause blood in faeces. You may still need a sigmoidoscopy.
    * Colonoscopy - this is like a sigmoidoscopy but looks at the whole of your bowel.

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