The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide
Diagnostic Tests - Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
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How long is it before the result of the test is known?

  • Your doctor can tell you right away if there were any polyps or suspicious tissue in your colon. If biopsies are taken, it usually takes a few days until a laboratory examines them and gives your doctor a report. If your doctor finds polyps or cancer in your colon, you will probably need to have a similar but more comprehensive procedure called a colonoscopy done on another day. This is because polyps can be removed only during a colonoscopy. Moreover, discovery of polyps in the lower portion of the colon during sigmoidoscopy means there is a greater likelihood that polyps or cancer may exist in the rest of the colon - and this can be determined only with a colonoscopy.

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