Proctoscopy is an investigation used to study the inside of the rectum with a rigid endoscope, 15 to 25 centimetres long. It can be performed by a gastroenterologist or a proctologist in primary care surgeries or in a hospital.
Proctoscopy- the process
Proctoscopy must always be performed if the doctor has found an abnormality during rectal examination. It is also the reference investigation to diagnose rectal cancers. Samples or biopsies can be taken during the proctoscopy. These are then analysed by a histology doctor to identify any cancer cells present. Proctoscopy is also performed for haemorrhoids, fistulae or other anorectal conditions.
The procedure for the examination
No special preparation is required for proctoscopy. Doctors simply recommend that patients open their bowels before being examined. It does not require hospitalisation and generally a small enema is given a few minutes before the investigation. The patient then lies down on an investigation table. The doctor carefully inserts the proctoscope into the rectum. The investigation lasts an average of 5 to 10 minutes.
Possible risks of proctoscopy
Although it is usually painless, the investigation can be unpleasant or even slightly painful or embarrassing to some people. The patient can then return home and does not need any particular monitoring.
- French digestive endoscopy society, websites consulted on 25 January 2011 on 25 January 2011
The proctologist performs the analyses after proctoscopy. © Konstantin Sutyagin, Fotolia