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At Mater Health Services we understand that being in hospital can be a very stressful experience. This booklet aims to alleviate some of your concerns in keeping with our Mission to offer compassionate, quality care that promotes dignity while responding to patients’ needs. It explains briefly the events that may occur during your visit and the things to expect when you are discharged from the hospital.

It is, however, only a guideline as each person may require differing treatments.

If you have any questions about your treatment please ask your doctor or nurse.

Our pastoral care team offers a caring support network to all patients. The dedicated members of this team will visit you during your stay and are available at your request to discuss any anxieties or problems that you may have.

What is a sigmoidoscopy?

A sigmoidoscopy is where a doctor looks at the lining of the lower part of your large bowel to see if there are any growths or disease. This is done by putting a bendable tube (sigmoidoscope) with a camera attached into your back passage. The tube is then slowly passed into the lower large bowel. Pictures of the inside of your bowel are then seen on a video screen.

What to expect during your sigmoidoscopy

To prevent discomfort during the sigmoidoscopy, you will receive intravenous sedation that will cause you to become slightly drowsy and you may have no memory of the procedure. You will still be able to respond to directions and you will be able to breathe normally.

After your procedure

You will be transferred from the procedure room, on a trolley, to a recovery room where your observations will be monitored. When the sedative effect has worn off and you are feeling more awake you will be given a light meal prior to going home.

It is not usual for your doctor to visit and discuss things with you after your procedure because you will still feel drowsy. Your results will be discussed with you at your follow-up appointment.

An appointment will be made prior to discharge and you will be given both a written and a verbal explanation of possible complications by the nursing staff.

Because a sedative is used for this procedure

  • you MUST arrange for someone to take you home. They will need to collect you from the Day Procedure Unit, level five, Mater Hospital Brisbane. You are required to stay in hospital for a minimum of two hours following the procedure.
  • you are required, by law, not to drive a vehicle (including bikes, motor bikes), operate machinery or sign legal contracts for a minimum of 24 hours.

What to expect after your sigmoidoscopy

  • You may resume your normal daily routine including working the day after your procedure, unless you are instructed otherwise.
  • You may return to normal eating habits, unless you are instructed otherwise.


Please contact your General Practitioner (GP) the Mater Hospital Brisbane Emergency Department on telephone 07 3163 8111, IMMEDIATELY if you experience any of the following after your procedure:

  • you generally feel ill with or without a headache, chill or muscle aches
  • you have a high temperature/fever
  • you begin to have bright red bleeding from your back passage—more than half a cup
  • you have a feeling of dizziness, shortness of breath or feel faint
  • you start to get sharp pains in the stomach or begin vomiting
  • you get discomfort/irritation in your back passage. 

Mater Hospital Brisbane

Raymond Terrace, South Brisbane Q 4101

Telephone: 07 3163 8111


Staff at Mater Hospital Brisbane, Raymond Terrace, South Brisbane, Q 4101

© 2010 Mater Misericordiae Ltd. ACN 096 708 922.

Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-420034
Last modified 09/8/2017.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 11/8/2015
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Mercy. Dignity. Care. Commitment. Quality


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