Test / Diagnostic Procedure: Proctoscopy / Rigid Sigmoidoscopy

A proctoscopy / rigid sigmoidoscopy is a procedure that allows a consultant to examine the rectum and anus.

To book offline, call our Digestive Health centre directly on: 020 3653 2009

Enquiries: bookings.digestivehealth@onewelbeck.com

What is a proctoscopy / rigid sigmoidoscopy?

A proctoscopy / rigid sigmoidoscopy is a procedure performed by a general or colorectal surgeon to examine the rectum and anus. The rectum is the end of the large intestine (colon), and the anus is the opening of the rectum.

A proctoscope is a hollow plastic tube, with a tiny light at the end. The rigid sigmoidoscope is a longer hollow tube that allows the consultant to make a detailed examination of the rectum, during this procedure they may introduce gas into the rectum to improve visibility.

At OneWelbeck our world-class consultants carry out proctoscopy and rigid sigmoidoscopy as an outpatient procedure. Using the latest medical technology we ensure this is a minimally invasive procedure so that you can return home the same day.

Why is a proctoscopy / rigid sigmoidoscopy performed?

A proctoscopy / rigid sigmoidoscopy is done to:

  • Detect disease in the rectum or anus.
  • Find the source of anal bleeding.
  • Find the cause of diarrhoea or constipation.
  • Remove or monitor the development of existing polyps or growths.
  • Screen for colon cancer or monitor rectal cancer that has already been treated.

Preparing for a proctoscopy / rigid sigmoidoscopy

At OneWelbeck, you’ll have a consultation with a colorectal surgeon before having the procedure. Your consultant will take you through what’s involved, how to prepare for it, and answer any questions you may have. They’ll also ask you to disclose any medications you’re currently taking, as well as any medical conditions you have.

What does a proctoscopy / rigid sigmoidoscopy involve?

A rigid sigmoidoscopy isn’t usually an uncomfortable procedure so does not require anaesthetic or sedation.

You’ll be lying on your side with your knees bent throughout the procedure. The proctoscope will be slowly and gently inserted into the rectum.

This can cause a feeling of having a full bowel and can cause some mild abdominal cramping. Taking slow, deep breaths through your mouth can help relax your muscles during the procedure.

The procedure will take only a few minutes to complete.

Recovering from a proctoscopy / rigid sigmoidoscopy

At OneWelbeck this procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and you can go home or return to work immediately after having the procedure.

You may notice some minor rectal bleeding and irritation but know that this is completely normal.

Proctoscopy / rigid sigmoidoscopy risks

There’s very little risk associated with rigid sigmoidoscopy and complications are very rare when the procedure is performed by an experienced consultant.

Contact your specialist if you experience any of the following symptoms after the procedure:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • A high temperature or chills
  • Rectal bleeding of more than one-half cup
  • Rectal bleeding that continues for more than a few days after the procedure

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Jun 2024


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This service or treatment is generally covered by most health insurance policies. You are responsible for checking your insurance policy cover, and you may need a referral letter. Check which insurance companies are covered.


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Proctoscopy / Rigid Sigmoidoscopy Specialists