A sigmoidoscopy is similar to a colonoscopy - except that it looks only at the lower part of your colon, while a colonoscopy looks at the entire large intestine. In this sense, a sigmoidoscopy is less invasive. The method of doing a sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy is similar, where there is an insertion of a soft, thin and flexible tube via the anus. The tube has a built-in camera that allows the doctor to examine the lower part of your colon.
Generally, doctors would recommend colonoscopy as a screening test as opposed to a sigmoidoscopy as more of the colon can be screened, and both you and your doctor will have peace of mind. If a polyp or cancer is found in the sigmoid colon (the lower part of your colon), then there is a risk that there may be polyps, tumours, or lesions missed in the upper part of the colon. A colonoscopy will then be suggested by your doctor to gain a more holistic understanding of your colon.
A sigmoidoscopy is more comfortable for the patient as the bowel preparation required is not as extensive as a colonoscopy. Typically, fleet enemas will be required on the day before, and the day of scope. Bowel preparation in the form of drinking laxatives may not be necessary.
Our doctors at Melissa Teo Surgery and The Surgical Oncology Clinic can evaluate you on your colon health, and whether doing a sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy will be more suitable for you.