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What Is the Difference Between a Sigmoidoscope and a Colonoscopy?

What Is the Difference Between a Sigmoidoscope and a Colonoscopy

Sigmoidoscopy vs Colonoscopy: What’s the Difference?

Different types of endoscopy are used by doctors to look at the colon system. The sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy are two of the most popular types of endoscopy.

In this guide, we will compare sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy. Both are very useful in the fight against colon cancer and other illnesses.


What It Examines

The lower part of the large intestine can be seen by the doctor during a sigmoidoscopy. The lower part is called the sigmoid colon, which is also where the name of the operation comes from. You can also see the rectum and the anus with a sigmoidoscopy.

How It Works

This test can be done in two different ways. The first is called flexible sigmoidoscopy, and it involves putting a flexible tube into the rectum by the doctor. This kind is often used to look into the sigmoid colon in more detail.

The other type, called rigid sigmoidoscopy, is good for quick exams and initial studies that can be done in the doctor’s office. The doctor sees inside the rectum with a strong plastic or metal scope during this treatment. It is possible to use the words “proctoscope” and “rectoscope” instead of “rigid sigmoidoscope.”

The throwaway sigmoidoscopy kits from Adler MicroMed are an example of a rigid sigmoidoscope. There are three sizes of these rectoscopes so that they can be used with a range of patients and treatments.

A patient is generally laid on their left side so the doctor can do a sigmoidoscopy. The tool is slowly pushed into the rectum.

Then, using an insufflator, the doctor can add air to the stomach to make it a little bigger. The doctor can get a good look at the rectum by shining a light on it. Procedures, like tissue sampling, can also be done with the tube in place.

Who Needs It

Because it is less invasive than a full colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy is often the first test done to look for intestinal problems. One more thing: a rectoscope is the right length to find problems in the rectal area.

Rigid sigmoidoscopy can be used to diagnose a patient who is bleeding, in pain, having irregular periods, or showing other signs of a problem in the stomach area. The doctor might be able to find problems like hemorrhoids or ulcers during the process.

A sigmoidoscopy can find polyps, tumors, or other signs of colon cancer. Because of this, some doctors recommend that their patients get flexible sigmoidoscopies at regular times between colonoscopies. A follow-up colonoscopy may be ordered if areas of worry are found during a sigmoidoscopy.

Sigmoidoscopy is sometimes used to check on a person who is getting care for a bowel problem. If you look at the lower gut, you can get an idea of whether the medicine is making the tissue better.


What It Examines

When comparing sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy, one main difference is how far the doctor can see. A sigmoidoscopy only looks at the lower part of the colon. A colonoscopy, on the other hand, lets the doctor see the whole colon. For this operation, a longer, flexible tube is used that can go around the bends in the colon.

How It Works

It is very important to get ready for a colonoscopy. Most of the time, patients are told to only drink liquids the day before their test and not eat or drink anything after midnight. The gut can also be cleaned out with laxatives or enemas.

A sedative is often given to the patient before the operation starts. This helps you feel better during the colonoscopy.

It’s a long, bendy tube that is also called an endoscope or colonoscope. There is a light and a camera on the end. The patient lies on his side with his knees close to his chest, just like in a sigmoidoscopy. The thin tool is slid through the stomach and into the rectum.

Putting air into the tube makes it easier to see the walls of the colon. Images are sent from the endoscope’s camera to a screen in the treatment room.

This kind of picture can be seen in the movie below:

Most of the time, problem areas can be fixed right away. A colonoscopy is one time when forceps can be used to remove small polyps.

Who Needs It

The American Cancer Society says that people should start getting regular checks for colon cancer when they are 45 years old. That usually means getting a colonoscopy every 10 years for people with a normal risk. Between each colonoscopy, a sigmoidoscopy can be done every five years.

People who have had polyps in the past may need to go through regular checks more often than other people. If you get regular colonoscopies, you may find dangerous growths early enough to treat them.

Everyone who is having colorectal signs may need a colonoscopy right away, no matter what age they are. With this method, a doctor can find out why someone is bleeding, hurting, or having frequent diarrhea or constipation.

It’s possible that the diagnosis is precancerous growths, colon cancer, or inflammatory bowel disease.

Sigmoidoscopy vs Colonoscopy: Which Is for You?

If you need care for your colon, should you get a colonoscopy or the less invasive sigmoidoscopy? The answer to that question will depend on what’s going on in your life right now.

Your doctor might tell you to get a sigmoidoscopy if:

  • This is the first step in the screening process.
  • Your signs could be caused by a problem in your anus or rectal area.
  • In the past 10 years, you’ve had a colonoscopy.\

You might need a colonoscopy if:

  • It was clear from the sigmoidoscopy that more research needed to be done.
  • You turned 45 not long ago, or it’s been 10 years since your last test.
  • It’s possible that you could get colon cancer.

Your doctor can keep an eye on your digestive health by giving you sigmoidoscopies and colonoscopies every other month.

When it comes to health problems, your doctor is the best person to tell you what procedure will work best for you. Talk about all of your choices and get a second opinion if you’re not sure. The only thing these pieces are meant to do is give you general information.

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