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Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Information Leaflet – BSL

Flexible sigmoidoscopy A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a procedure that
allows the doctor or nurse to look directly at the lower end of your bowel. The sigmoidoscope is a flexible tube about
the thickness of your index finger, with a bright light at the end. It is passed into your back passage through
your bottom. What are the benefits of having a flexible
sigmoidoscopy carried out? This procedure allows the doctor or nurse
to see and treat most problems immediately. Sometimes the doctor or nurse may need to
take a biopsy. This is a small piece of tissue, which is
removed through the tube using tiny forceps. You will not be able to feel the biopsy being
taken. We may need to treat your piles by placing
a small rubber band around them to cause them to shrivel away. We may need to remove a polyp (an over-growth
of tissue) by diathermy. This means passing a narrow instrument through
the scope and directing a small electrical charge directly to the base of the polyp. Getting ready for the procedure Important If you are taking Warfarin, Clopidogrel or
any other blood thinning drugs it is important that you tell the Endoscopy Unit as soon
as you are advised when your appointment will be. This is because sometimes special
arrangements may need to be made to stop this for a few days. It may also be advisable to have a blood test
a couple of days before your appointment to see if the procedure is safe to proceed. If you are taking iron tablets, please stop
these 5 days before your procedure. Please keep taking all other medication including
blood pressure tablets, including on the day of your procedure, unless directed otherwise. If you are diabetic please discuss this with
Endoscopy before attending or with your consultant. If you answer yes to any of the following
2 questions, please contact us for advice: Have you ever been notified that you are at
increased risk of CJD or vCJD for public health purposes? Have you received multiple (50 units or, on
more than 20 occasions) transfusions of blood or blood components (red cells, plasma, cryoprecipitate
or platelets) since 1980? Before this procedure we will need to prepare
your bowel by giving you some medication to clear it. Please read the bowel preparation leaflet,
if you have been given a copy. Please have nothing to eat from taking your
bowel preparation until after the procedure. You may drink clear fluids only up to 2 hours
before your appointment time. You may be given an enema on the day if you
have not been sent bowel preparation. This will empty your bowel so that the doctor
or nurse can have a clear view. Before you arrive please remove all nail polish
and false nails. Can I have sedation for the procedure? A very small number of patients have an injection
to make them sleepy and relaxed during the examination. Do not be afraid to ask if you would feel
more comfortable with this. If you have a sedative injection, you must
not drive or go home by public transport. Therefore, you must make arrangements for
someone to collect you. It is not appropriate to go home unaccompanied
in a taxi. Please note: hospital transport and ambulances
are not normally available for day patients. You will need a responsible adult at home
with you for 24 hours. What are the risks, consequences and alternatives
associated with having a flexible sigmoidoscopy? Flexible sigmoidoscopy can result in complications
such as reactions to medications, perforation of the intestine and bleeding. Please be reassured that these complications
are rare, but may require urgent treatment and even an operation. It is very important that you inform us if you have any severe pain, black tarry stools or persistent bleeding
in the hours or days after your sigmoidoscopy. After a polypectomy there can be an increased
risk of this happening. If you are concerned about any of these risks,
or have any further queries, please contact your consultant. Your consultant has recommended this procedure
as being the best option. However, sometimes a barium enema/CT scan
may be performed. This means putting white x-ray fluid into
your bowel and/or air through a tube placed in your bottom, then by inflating your bowel
with air it allows pictures to be taken. This procedure is not as effective as a flexible
sigmoidoscopy and cannot allow treatment to be undertaken at that time; therefore you may still have to undergo
a flexible sigmoidoscopy at a later date. If you would like more information about this,
please speak to your consultant or one of the nurses caring for you. What should I expect? On arrival at the unit a receptionist will
check your details. You will be asked some questions about your
general health, the medicines you take and any allergies you may have. The doctor or nurse will then explain the
procedure, and ask you to sign a consent form (if you already haven’t signed one). If you have any questions or worries at this
point please do not be afraid to raise them. Please tell the doctor or nurse if you have
had any other endoscopy examinations or any allergies or bad reactions to medication. A nurse will then take you to the changing
rooms where you will be asked to put on a hospital gown (it is useful to bring your
own dressing gown and slippers). Once you have changed you will be asked to
wait in a pre-procedure room. You will be made comfortable on a trolley
lying on your left side with your knees bent up. After the tube has been gently inserted into
the back passage, air will be passed through it to distend the bowel. This will allow a clear view of the lining
of the bowel. It may cause you a little discomfort but it
will not last too long. You may get the sensation of wanting to go
to the toilet, but as your bowel is empty there is no danger of that happening. You may pass some wind but don’t feel worried
or embarrassed, it is only the air that is being passed. The examination should only last
about 10-20 minutes and a nurse will remain with you throughout. If you do have a sedative injection, you will
have to rest after the procedure for a short while. Please expect to remain in the unit for up
to 3 hours. Sometimes we may have to attend emergencies
who must take priority. You may wish to bring a newspaper or book
with you to read. When do I get the results? We will usually give you the results after
the procedure. However, if you have had biopsies taken or
polyps removed, these will have to go to the laboratory for further examination. In this instance you may be asked to attend
another outpatient appointment or we may write to you with the results. Discharge information and at home advice You are unlikely to have any side-effects
following your procedure however: You may experience abdominal discomfort, this
is caused by the air, which the doctor put in during the examination. This could last for up to 12 hours and will
pass naturally. If you have had a polyp removed, or biopsies
taken from your bowel, you may notice some blood spotting in your bowel movements for
the next 24 hours. If you have heavy bleeding, please seek medical
advice. Sedation If you have been given a sedative it will
remain in your body for 24 hours and during this time is gradually excreted from the body. Therefore there are certain things that you
should and should not do. For the first 24 hours after your procedure
you should: Ensure that a responsible adult stays at home
with you for 24 hours. Rest quietly at home for the rest of the day
– go to bed or lie on the settee. Drink plenty of fluids, but not too much tea
or coffee. Eat a light diet eg. soup or sandwiches. Avoid greasy or heavy food as this may cause
you to feel sick. Lie flat if you feel faint or dizzy. Contact your GP if you have not passed urine
12 hours after your procedure. For at least 24 hours after your procedure
you must not: Drive. Your insurance company may refuse to meet
a claim if they feel you have driven too soon. Go back to work. Lock yourself in the bathroom or toilet or
make yourself inaccessible to the person looking after you. Operate any domestic appliances or machinery. Drink alcohol. Make any important decisions or sign any important
documents. Be responsible for looking after small children. If you have any queries, or require further
information please contact the Endoscopy Unit.

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