Utility of preoperative fiberoptic flexible sigmoidoscopy in the evaluation of patients with suspected gynecologic malignancy

E. Lawitz, S. C. Kadakia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Fiberoptic flexible sigmoidoscopy (FFS) is routinely requested preoperatively as part of evaluation of pelvic masses to exclude colonic involvement by the tumor or concurrent colonic neoplasm. The aim of our study was to evaluate the utility of preoperative FFS in patients with suspected gynecologic malignancy. Methods: FFS, performed using a 60 cm sigmoidoscope, evaluated (1) presence of bowel involvement by the tumor, (2) extrinsic compression by the tumor, and (3) presence of colonic neoplasms. FFS findings were correlated with surgical findings. Results: A total of 107 women underwent preoperative FFS and subsequent surgery. Eleven patients (11%) had lower gastrointestinal symptoms. At surgery, 63% of pelvic tumors were malignant and 37% were benign. The most common abnormality at FFS was colonic polyps in 23 patients (21%). Colonic adenomas were found in 11 patients (10%). Extrinsic compression by the tumor without mucosal abnormalities was seen in 15 patients (14%). The most common intraoperative finding was tumor adhering to the bowel in 18 patients requiring dissection, but only I patient required bowel resection. Eight of these 18 patients had preoperative lower gastrointestinal symptoms. All 15 patients with extrinsic compression at FFS had tumor adhering to the bowel. Conclusions: Pelvic masses cause extrinsic compression at FFS in 14% of patients. This is suggestive of tumor adherent to the bowel at surgery. However, bowel resection is rarely required because of tumor involvement. Most patients with bowel adherence by tumor have lower gastrointestinal symptoms. Colonic adenomas are found in one tenth of patients, mostly in patients older than 50 years of age. Preoperative FFS does not change the surgical management of pelvic tumors. Screening FFS is indicated in all patients with pelvic tumors over age 50, as in persons with average risk, but is otherwise unnecessary in evaluation of pelvic masses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-353
Number of pages4
JournalGastrointestinal Endoscopy
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology


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