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Colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy 

Colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy
Colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy

James E. East

and Brian P. Saunders


July 30, 2015: This chapter has been re-evaluated and remains up-to-date. No changes have been necessary.


Preparation of instruments—modified to include discussion of prion disease.

Prophylaxis against endocarditis—modified to reflect updated guidelines.

Flexible sigmoidoscopy—discussion of findings of recent population-based screening studies.

Cost-effectiveness—discussion of importance of quality assurance of endoscopists.

Images—videos of diagnostic colonoscopy and resection of a colonic polyp.

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date: 15 October 2021

Colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy are techniques for visualizing the lumen of the large bowel. In expert hands, after appropriate explanation to the patient (which increases the chances of the procedure being well tolerated), bowel preparation, and (usually) some form of ‘conscious sedation’, then total colonoscopy is possible in 98 to 99% of cases in the absence of obstruction, a severely ulcerated colon, or other contraindication....

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