The value of flexible sigmoidoscopy to screen for colorectal neoplasms was determined in asymptomatic patients. One hundred sixty men (mean age 61±10), who denied a change in bowel habits or blood in their stools and who had guaiac-negative stools, had flexible sigmoidoscopic examinations performed by surgical residents with little previous endoscopy experience, while a staff surgeon continuously viewed the resident's progress through a teaching scope. Forty-nine benign neoplastic polyps were removed from 21% of the patients. The examination was well tolerated in 93% of these patients who received no medications. Resident endoscopists who had performed more than 15 examinations were more likely to reach 50 cm (79%) than those with less experience. The authors conclude that surgical residents are able to safely and effectively screen for colorectal neoplasms with a flexible sigmoidoscope when supervised.
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