What is an sigmoidoscopy?

A sigmoidoscopy is a procedure involving a thin, flexible camera that is inserted through the anus to examine a portion of the colon and the rectum. It is frequently performed as an alternative to a colonoscopy for certain indications.


Who needs a sigmoidoscopy?

If your symptoms are believed to be occurring due to a problem within the end of your colon or rectum, your doctor may recommend a sigmoidoscopy over a colonoscopy. It also gives your doctor the ability to check for a response to treatment based on prior findings during your colonoscopy. Common indications for a sigmoidoscopy include:

• Blood in stools or rectal bleeding
• Ulcerative colitis
• Unexplained abdominal or rectal pain
• Colon cancer screening
• Chronic diarrhea


What are the advantages of a sigmoidoscopy?

One advantage of a sigmoidoscopy is that the procedure can generally be performed without sedation. This allows for a quicker recovery and does not mandate the need for an escort to accompany you following your procedure. Another advantage is reduced requirement of pre-procedure preparation. To determine if a sigmoidoscopy may be right for you, please consult with one of our physicians.


How to prepare for a sigmoidoscopy?

Preparing for a sigmoidoscopy involves certain diet restrictions and the use of laxatives the day prior to the examination. Your doctor will provide you with all instructions upon booking your procedure. For more information, please see our Procedure Instructions section.


What happens during a sigmoidoscopy?

Prior to the examination starting, you have the option to receive sedation from an anesthesiologist so that you are relaxed and comfortable for the procedure. Sedation is not routinely used for these procedures. Once the procedure begins, your doctor passes a thin tube with a camera and light on its end through the anus and up throughout the left side of the colon. During the procedure, your doctor visualizes the lining of the large intestine. Your doctor has the ability to take biopsies if necessary and remove any growths (polyps) which may be precancerous.


How to schedule a sigmoidoscopy?

To determine if a sigmoidoscopy may be appropriate for you, please contact us to schedule a consultation with a member of our team.


The information provided above is meant to be used as an informative guide for patients. For precise and individualized recommendations, please consult with one of our board certified gastroenterologists to discuss your symptoms.

For additional information or to book an appointment at the Gastroenterology Center of New York, please feel free to reach out to our dedicated team by calling us at 718-210-2960. You can also schedule online or reach out to us via the Contact Us form.

Questions? Our staff is always happy to assist.
Email us at or call us at 718.210.2960