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J R Soc Med. 1996 November; 89(11): 616–617.
PMCID: PMC1295996

Self-administered disposable micro-enemas before outpatient sigmoidoscopy.


Many colorectal carcinomas can be diagnosed by rigid sigmoidoscopy. One important limiting factor in the usefulness of this investigation is the presence of faeces; another is inability to negotiate the recto-sigmoid bend. 101 patients (47 men) were sent a Microlax enema with instruction to use it before their first attendance in the outpatient department. The grade of preparation [on a scale of 0 (empty rectum) to 3, with grades 0 and 1 providing an adequate view], height achieved with the sigmoidoscope and whether or not the extent of the examination was limited by faeces were recorded. These data were compared with results in 78 patients (38 men) who did not receive any special preparation. There were no serious difficulties with self-administration. An adequate view was obtained in 89 (88%) of those who had received an enema and in 41 (53%) of those who were unprepared (P < 0.001, chi 2 test). The height achieved and the percentage of patients in whom the sigmoidoscopy was not limited by faeces were also significantly increased. The mailing of micro-enemas to patients who are likely to need sigmoidoscopy is a cheap measure that increases diagnostic yield and saves reattendances.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Gillespie PE, Chambers TJ, Chan KW, Doronzo F, Morson BC, Williams CB. Colonic adenomas--a colonoscopy survey. Gut. 1979 Mar;20(3):240–245. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
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  • Pimparkar BD, Raghavan P. Use of surfactant enema in preparation for sigmoidoscopic examination. J Postgrad Med. 1967 Oct;13(4):205–209. [PubMed]
  • Hughes LE. The use of a micro-enema as preparation for sigmoidoscopy. Med J Aust. 1967 Jul 29;2(5):215–217. [PubMed]
  • Singh S, Bowditch M, Dennison A, Shorthouse AJ. Sigmoidoscopy with a view. Br J Surg. 1994 Dec;81(12):1795–1795. [PubMed]

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