Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Procedures


Flexible sigmoidoscopy involves the use of a long flexible tube to examine the lower end of the colon (large bowel), which includes the anus, rectum and sigmoid colon. During the procedure biopsies (small tissue samples) can be taken to assist in confirming your diagnosis and polyps (small benign growths) can be removed. It is important to remove polyps when detected, as polyps can become cancerous if left to develop.

The examination allows your consultant to view the bowel without having to perform a full colonoscopy. Flexible sigmoidoscopy is usually done without full bowel preparation or intravenous sedation. Approximate time taken for preparation for procedure, procedure time and discharge instructions can take between 30 – 60 minutes. If intravenous sedation is given you will need to stay for a short period, approximately 1-hour post procedure and you will need to arrange an escort to accompany you home.

The lower end of your bowel must be empty for the examination and this is achieved by asking you to either:
–   Use the toilet to empty your bowel, just prior to the examination, or
–   Have a small Travard enema.
The nursing staff will assist you in changing your clothes (remove clothes from the waist down), put on a gown, robe and disposable socks.
If you are having an enema, a small tube will be inserted into the back passage and 130mls of fluid introduced. You will be asked to retain the fluid in your bowel for 5-10 minutes, resting on your left side, then use the toilet to empty your bowel.

Before the procedure
Your consultant will explain your procedure, the risks and answer your questions; you will sign a consent form, which gives us your permission to perform the procedure.
If you have any concerns or questions please discuss them with your consultant or anaesthetist.

After the procedure Before you are discharged, the possible side-effects associated with your procedure will be discussed with you and you will be given a brief written report for your local doctor, discharge instruction and if needed a follow-up appointment will be made for you.

Are there any risks?
Flexible sigmoidoscopy is usually a simple and safe procedure, however, though rare, complications can arise. Data from our own records show that our complication rate is significantly lower than the national average. Since 1992, we have performed over 31,000 endoscopy procedures. Our complication rates are as follows:

Haemorrhage: 1: 10,000 Perforation (tear) 1: 8,000
Reaction to medication 1: 8,000 Aspiration 1: 8,000


If bleeding does occur it will usually stop spontaneously but observation and further treatment in hospital may be necessary. Very rarely, a small hole in the colon wall can develop (perforation). If this occurs, observation in hospital is necessary. Very occasionally surgery is required to seal the perforation.

If you experience bleeding, severe pain or fever after the examination, please contact us immediately, on (02) 9369 3666.

Infection control guidelines set by the Gastroenterological Society, NHMRC, Standards for Australia and the NSW Health Department are strictly observed.

Our aim is for excellence in management and care of all patients.
Accredited with the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards since 1995.

Any comments about any aspect of care or complaints can be directed to the Quality Manager.


Dr Sonia Alley
Dr Sonia Alley
Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist
B.Med.Sc. (USyd), M.B., B.S. (USyd), FRACP
Dr. Eric Wegman
Dr. Eric Wegman
Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist - MB BS(Hons) UNSW, PhD USyd, FRACP, GIA(cert)
Dr. Philip Chang
Dr. Philip Chang
Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist
Dr. Jelica Kurtovic
Dr. Jelica Kurtovic
Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist
Ass. Prof. Alan Meagher
Ass. Prof. Alan Meagher
Colorectal surgeon
Dr. Shing Wong
Dr. Shing Wong
Colorectal Surgeon, Senior Lecturer, Programme of Surgery, PRINCE OF WALES HOSPITAL
MBBS(Hons) FRACS MS (Colorectal) GradCertULT
Ass. Prof. Matthew Morgan
Ass. Prof. Matthew Morgan
Colorectal & General Surgery



Level 10 & 11, 1 Newland Street
Bondi Junction NSW 2022
Level 10 : Procedures
Level 11 : Consultations

(02) 9369 3666

(02) 9369 1247