Enquiry form
General enquiries:
+44 (0)207 935 4444
Book a consultation:
+44 (0)207 616 7693
Self-pay enquiry:
+44 (0)203 219 3315

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is an examination of the lower part of the large bowel using a digital camera attached to a fine tube. The London Clinic provides flexible sigmoidoscopy by world-leading gastroenterologists in a private, comfortable and stress-free environment. We have a dedicated, state-of-the-art endoscopy unit, with a Saturday service, offering patients more flexibility and choice.

The London Clinic’s consultants use flexible sigmoidoscopy to investigate a change in bowel habit or bleeding from the back passage, monitor existing bowel conditions like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, and as a screening test for bowel cancer. Bowel screening with flexible sigmoidoscopy at The London Clinic can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer, identify cancers early, and protect your future health.

This surgery can be carried out by one of our experienced consultants.

What is a flexible sigmoidoscopy?

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is an investigation to examine the inside of your bowel. It is a minimally-invasive procedure; you will not have any cuts or scars following your sigmoidoscopy.

Your consultant inserts a fine telescope, with a light and a digital camera into your anus. They will then gently pass it into your rectum and lower colon. The digital camera relays images to a screen, allowing your consultant to inspect the inside of your bowel.

The expert gastroenterologists at The London Clinic are highly-skilled in flexible sigmoidoscopy. They can excise small polyps and take samples for analysis.

Who can benefit from flexible sigmoidoscopy?

A flexible sigmoidoscopy is an important investigation for people whose bowel habit has changed. The expert gastroenterologists at The London Clinic can use flexible sigmoidoscopy to diagnose inflammatory bowel disease, biopsy polyps and check for evidence of colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer affects as many as one in twenty people over a lifetime, and most cancers develop from small, slow-growing growths called polyps. They can be found in one in ten people over fifty. Most polyps are harmless, but some may contain abnormal or precancerous cells. Regular screening for colon cancer is the best way to protect yourself from this disease.

Investigation is important for people with symptoms, including:

  • Bleeding or mucous from your back passage or blood in your stools.
  • A change from your usual bowel habit, the stools may be looser, or there may be new constipation.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Weight loss.
  • Tiredness.
  • Abdominal pain, which may get worse with meals.
  • Bloating.
  • An abdominal lump or swelling.

If bowel problems and colorectal cancer are diagnosed at an early stage and treated effectively, you can achieve better results. See your GP or contact The London Clinic for screening tests if you are worried or have noticed any unusual symptoms.

Investigation options

The London Clinic offers a comprehensive range of investigations for bowel disease and screening tests for colorectal cancer. The right test, or combination of tests, will depend on your symptoms, age, health, and medical history. Investigations include:

  • Stool analysis: Faeces may be checked for hidden blood, including faecal occult blood test (FOBT), faecal immunochemical test (FIT) and inflammatory markers.
  • Colonoscopy: This is a flexible camera examination of the full length of the inside of the bowel. It is the gold standard screening test for bowel cancer. If other tests such as flexible sigmoidoscopy find an abnormality suspicious, a colonoscopy is usually needed.
  • Virtual colonoscopy: The London Clinic offers this innovative non-invasive investigation. It is a type of CT scan that creates 3D images of the inside of the colon.

Flexible sigmoidoscopy at The London Clinic

The gastroenterologists perform flexible sigmoidoscopy as an outpatient procedure. Usually, you will not need sedation or anaesthesia. The procedure is of short duration, generally lasting less than 10 minutes. However, if you are worried about the procedure, The London Clinic offers sedation to reduce discomfort and anxiety. This will be given intravenously so that you will feel relaxed but still conscious.

You will lie on the examination couch on your side, with your knees drawn up towards your chest. Your consultant will squeeze some lubricant jelly into your back passage to ease the way.

The consultant will then insert the narrow flexible sigmoidoscope into your anus and gently pass it into your colon. They may pass air or water into the bowel to ensure a more unobstructed view. The digital camera relays high-quality images of the gut to a monitor. The specialist can then use specially-designed fine instruments to take biopsies and excise small polyps.

Recovery and aftercare

After the procedure, the expert team will support you as you recover. You will be able to go home on the day of your procedure. Your team will let you know the findings of the investigation and provide individual guidance on aftercare.

You may feel a little bloated or experience some cramping pain after your sigmoidoscopy. This is a result of the gas passed into the bowel and usually settles in a few hours. The team will offer pain-relief and arrange follow-up for any treatment needed and to get the results of any biopsies.

You should be able to return to work and normal activities the next day. The London Clinic team will always be on hand if you have any problems or worries.

Why choose The London Clinic?

The London Clinic is dedicated to providing the best, personalised healthcare with over 600 world- renowned consultants available to offer informed health advice and treatment.

Spanning Harley Street and Devonshire Place, The London Clinic is situated in the heart of London’s internationally-known medical district. This central location, together with state-of-the art technologies and facilities that are not widely available in other hospitals, makes The London Clinic the hospital of choice for around 120,000 patients every year.

The London Clinic is an HTA licensed and JACIE accredited cancer centre with an ‘Excellent’ MacMillan Quality Environment Mark and with access to a Level 3 intensive care unit.

Offering affordable and competitive self-pay packages and expert support from Clinical Nurse Specialists and our specialised multidisciplinary team, over 98% of our patients said they would recommend The London Clinic to their friends and families.

Treatment cost

The London Clinic offers affordable, competitive self-pay packages for certain treatments. An All-Inclusive Package for this treatment is available from £1,610.

Patients have the option to spread the cost of treatment with Chrysalis Finance.

Please call +44 (0)20 3613 7502 to speak to our helpful team to find out more and to book an appointment.

Make a Self-Pay enquiry

The London Clinic is fully committed to compliance with Data Protection and Department of Health medical confidentiality guidelines. The personal information that you submit using this form will be held securely by us and your personal information will not be shared with anyone outside of the London Clinic or used for any other purpose than to respond to your enquiry and/or request. Please confirm how you would like us to contact you:

Protecting your information

Please see our Privacy Notice for further details on how we use your personal data