Clinical Case Database / Category: Practical Procedure

Rigid sigmoidoscopy and flatus tube insertion for sigmoid volvulus

Publication details

Mr Sanjay Harrison, Mr Harrison Benziger, Dr Dougal Brown
Foundation Years Journal, volume 6, issue 1, p.21 (123Doc Education, London, January 2012)


Sigmoid volvulus is a common cause of large bowel obstruction in the elderly and in many cases it can be recurrent. If promptly diagnosed, it can be safely treated by performing a rigid sigmoidoscopy and then inserting a flatus tube. Very often, this would provide almost instant relief for the patient. After reading this article, the reader would have a good understanding of how to perform a rigid sigmoidoscopy and insert a flatus tube. They would also have an understanding of the various indications and contra-indications for this procedure.

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Mr Sanjay Harrison (Corresponding author)

Surgical Trainee (ST3)
Northern Deanery
Waterfront 4
Goldcrest Way
Newburn Riverside
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE 15 8NY

Mr Harrison Benziger

Consultant Surgeon
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital
St Peters Road

Dr Dougal Brown

Consultant Radiologist
Sunderland Royal Hospital
Kayll Road


1. Isaacs KL. Anoscopy and rigid sigmoidoscopy. In: Drossman DA, Shaheen NJ, Grimm IS. Handbook of Gastroenterologic Procedures. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins; 2005:64-71
2. Madiba TE, Thomson SR – The management of sigmoid volvulus. Journal of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh 2000; 45(2):74-80
3. Raveenthiran V, Madiba TE, Atamanalp SS et al – Volvulus of the sigmoid colon. Colorectal Diseases 2010; 12(7):1-17
4. Robinson RJ, Stone M, Mayberry JF – Sigmoidoscopy and rectal biopsy: a survey of current UK practice. European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology 1996; 8(2):149-151


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T​he Foundation Years Clinical Cases Database is​ a selection of 600 peer-reviewed clinical cases in the field of patient safety and clinical practice, specifically focused on the clinical information needs of junior doctors, based around the Foundation Year Curriculum programme (MMC). The cases have been chosen to align with the Foundation Year Curriculum.

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