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Flexible Sigmoidoscopy (cont.)

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What are the complications of flexible sigmoidoscopy?

Flexible sigmoidoscopy and biopsy are generally safe when the procedure is performed by properly trained individuals. Possible but rare complications include a perforation (making a hole in the wall of the colon) and bleeding from the biopsy site. The former may call for surgery.

Although complications following flexible sigmoidoscopy are rare, it is important to recognize the early signs of any possible complication. Contact your physician or the examiner if you notice any of the following:

  • severe abdominal pain,
  • fever and/or chills, and
  • rectal bleeding of more than a few teaspoons.


If you still have any questions about the procedure, reasons for doing it, alternative tests, costs, and insurance coverage, do not hesitate to speak to your doctor or the staff. Most endoscopists are highly trained specialists and welcome your questions regarding the procedure, and their medical credentials and training.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


Falchuk, Myron, MD. "Patient information: Flexible sigmoidoscopy (Beyond the Basics)." Updated Jun 30, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/4/2016


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