Sigmoidoscopy - Diagnostic

This is an examination of the lower part of the large intestine using a thin, flexible lighted tube with a camera on the end.




This is an examination of the lower part of the large intestine using a thin, flexible lighted tube with a camera on the end.



A sigmoidoscopy is an examination of the lower end of the large intestine (sigmoid colon) and rectum using a thin, flexible lighted tube with a camera on the end.

  • A diagnostic sigmoidoscopy may be done to find the cause of bowel symptoms (such as pain, persistent diarrhea and rectal bleeding) and to remove abnormal tissue for testing.
  • Polyps are abnormal growths that are attached to the lining of the colon or rectum. Some polyps can be cancerous or precancerous, but many are benign.
  • Having a sigmoidoscopy can reduce your risk of getting colon cancer by finding and removing polyps before they become cancerous.
  • The examination is not as complete as colonoscopy, which remains the gold standard for colorectal cancer screening.

A diagnostic sigmoidoscopy is performed to check on bowel symptoms (such as pain, persistent diarrhea and rectal bleeding) and to remove abnormal tissue for testing. Before your sigmoidoscopy, talk with your healthcare provide about your medical conditions and all medications you are taking. Do not forget over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements. Some of these medicines can interfere with the sigmoidoscopy preparation or the exam. You should ask about specific instructions you should follow before the procedure. These include:

  • Medications you should not take before the procedure, such as blood thinners or aspirin
  • Regular medications you should continue to take on the day of your procedure
  • How many hours you should stop eating and drinking before the procedure

The day before your sigmoidoscopy, you will be instructed to drink only clear liquids and take medicine to clean out your bowels. Most people do not require sedation or any form of anesthesia for a sigmoidoscopy.

A diagnostic sigmoidoscopy, one done to check on symptoms or polyps, is not a preventive service and is subject to deductibles and copayments.

What should I ask my healthcare provider before having a sigmoidoscopy?

  • What is the reason for the procedure? Is there another procedure (e.g., colonoscopy) that would be better? Why are you recommending one procedure over the other?
  • Do I need to fast before the procedure and, if so, for how long? Is there any other special preparation for the procedure? (If so, get clear instructions on what you need to do.)
  • What are the possible complications? How will I feel after the procedure, and how will I have to modify my activity after the procedure?
  • When should I return for my next sigmoidoscopy?

After your procedure, you should know what you had done, what medication was given, and what symptoms you should report to your healthcare provider. You should also understand all home care instructions (including medications and side effects) and follow-up plans. Do not forget to arrange for transportation to and from the facility and for help at home. You will not be allowed to drive home, even if you are completely awake.

Source UHC.com

Also known as:

Sigmoidoscopy - Diagnostic
Diagnostic Sigmoidoscopy
Colonoscopy
Colon Scan


ProcedureRates.com helps consumers determine the average cost of common medical procedures in their location. By gathering and analyzing data from leading insurance providers across the US, patients can compare the estimated price of common medical procedures to determine their approximate out-of-pocket expenses. All rates are approximations and not guarantees based on data that is available to the consumer. There are currently 638 procedures available in our database. These results and the information contained within should in no way take the place of actual medical advice.

Do not avoid getting health care based on the information on this site. Not affiliated with any insurance provider, hospital, or medical professional. For informational purposes only.