Bowel Preparation for Your First Visit with Your Colorectal Surgeon

This information will help you prepare for your first appointment with your colorectal surgeon. If your Patient Access Specialist tells you that your doctor is going to perform a flexible sigmoidoscopy during your appointment, you may need to do a bowel preparation.

About Your Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

A flexible sigmoidoscopy is an exam of your lower colon and rectum done by your doctor. It allows your doctor to examine your rectum and lower colon by placing a thin, flexible scope into your rectum and up into your colon to check for abnormal changes. The scope has a tiny camera in it so the doctor can take a biopsy (sample of tissue) or pictures.

During this procedure, you will be lying on your left side. The procedure lasts about 5 to 10 minutes.

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Before Your Appointment

In order to prepare for this procedure, you may be asked to do a bowel preparation to clean out your lower colon by giving yourself 2 saline enemas. Your Patient Access Care Advisor will let you know if you need to do this. Follow the instructions below.

If you are experiencing severe rectal pain or bleeding, tell your Patient Access Care Advisor because you may not need to do the bowel preparation. Also, tell your Patient Access Care Advisor if you are taking any medications to thin your blood such as warfarin (Coumadin®), dalteparin (Fragmin®), or enoxaparin (Lovenox®). 

Purchase supplies

Purchase 2 saline enemas such as Fleet®. You can buy these at most pharmacies over-the-counter. You don’t need a prescription.

Start your bowel preparation

You can follow your regular diet and take all your usual medications. For the enema, follow the instructions on the label of the enema bottle.

Give yourself the first enema 2 hours before you leave for your appointment. Give yourself the second enema 30 minutes later.

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Contact Information

If you have any questions, call your Patient Access Care Advisor at 646-497-9065. After business hours, on weekends, and holidays, call MSK’s main telephone number 212-639-2000.

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