Tests & Procedures

At Minnesota Gastroenterology, we know that patients and families want to know as much as possible about the test and/or procedure that is being recommended by a healthcare provider.  Refer to the list below to find the information that is most helpful to you.  If you still have questions, please contact us through our website Quick Links or call (612) 871-1145 to make an office appointment.


Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Purchase the following supplies at your local pharmacy:

2 – FLEET Saline Enemas

Day of your procedure

  • There are no dietary restrictions.
  • Continue all medications as usual
  • 1 ½ hours before leaving for your procedure:

Rectally administer the 1st Fleet enema

  • 1 hour before leaving for your procedure: 

Rectally administer the 2nd Fleet enema

Cancel or Reschedule your appointment:
If you must cancel or reschedule your appointment, please call 612-871-1145 as soon as possible.

Bring the following to your procedure:

  • Health History Form: Bring the completed Health History form included in this packet with you the day of your appointment.
  • Insurance Card / Photo ID
  • List of Current Medications
  • Rescue Inhaler: Bring your rescue inhaler if you currently use one to control asthma
  • Contact Lenses Supplies: You will be asked to remove contact lenses prior to the start of your procedure
  • Advance Directives: If you have an Advance Directive, please bring a copy of your Advance Directive with you to your endoscopy appointment. Advance Directives are not honored at MNGI facilities, and in the event of a life-threatening situation, life support measures will be instituted in every instance and our patients will be transported to a higher level of care facility (i.e., hospital). In the unlikely event that you require an emergency transfer to a higher level of care facility, your Advance Directive should accompany you to that facility.

What is flexible sigmoidoscopy?
Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a procedure that allows your physician to examine the lining of the rectum and a portion of the colon for abnormal growths or tissue. During this procedure, the doctor inserts a flexible, hollow tube called a sigmoidoscope into the anus and advances it slowly into the rectum and lower colon. If abnormal tissue is found, the doctor may remove a sample for further examination or biopsy. Pain medication and/or sedatives are not generally needed for this procedure.

What should I expect during a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
Plan to spend up to 1½ hours at the endoscopy center the day of your procedure. The procedure itself takes from 5 to 15 minutes to complete. Pain medication and/or sedatives are not generally needed for this procedure.

Before the Procedure:
Your medical history will be reviewed with you by your health care team including a nurse, your gastroenterology physician and an anesthesia provider. An IV line will be placed.

During the Procedure:
During your procedure the anesthesia provider will administer medications (if you chose to be sedated) and monitor vital signs which is a process known as Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC). While most patients sleep through the procedure, some remain awake and aware. The anesthesiologist and/or certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) will help determine the appropriate type of drug to be used during the procedure to keep you safe and comfortable. If abnormal tissue or polyps are found, the physician may remove them through the scope for closer examination or biopsy.

What should I expect after a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
The physician will talk with you about the initial results of your procedure and will prepare a full report for the healthcare provider who referred you for the procedure. You may have some cramping or bloating after the procedure which is normal and should disappear quickly by passing gas. Any tissue samples or polyps removed during the procedure will be sent to a lab for evaluation. It may take 5-7 working days for you to be notified of the results by mail or through the Patient Portal.

What are the possible complications with flexible sigmoidoscopy?
Although serious complications are rare, any medical procedure has the potential for risks. Risks from the procedure include perforation, or a tear through the lining of the colon, bleeding from a biopsy site, reaction to medications, heart and lung problems, and dental or eye injuries.