Last Modified: March 16, 2011
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
Is a sigmoidoscopy the same as colonoscopy? If not, which is better?
David Metz, MD, Professor of Gastroenterology at Penn Medicine, responds:
A colonoscopy examines the entire colon from the rectum to the cecum including the rectum, sigmoid colon, descending colon transverse colon, ascending colon and cecum. A sigmoidoscopy is a partial colonoscopy that only examines the left side from the rectum to the sigmoid colon. Colonoscopy usually requires sedation and an oral lavage or preparation is needed but it allows a complete evaluation. Sigmoidoscopy can be done without sedation, only requires enemas for preparation but is limited in its extent. I personally favor a full colonoscopy for screening.
This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. See the full transcript of Advances in Colorectal Cancer Screening.
May 12, 2011 - The risk of new or missed colorectal cancers is substantially higher after flexible sigmoidoscopy than colonoscopy in older adults, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week 2011, held from May 7 to 10 in Chicago.
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