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Health Questions

Anoscopy

Definition

Anoscopy is a method to look at the anus, anal canal, and lower rectum.

How the Test is Performed

The procedure is usually done in a doctor's office.

A digital rectal exam is done first. Then, a lubricated instrument called an anoscope is placed a few inches into the rectum. You will feel some discomfort when this is done.

The anoscope has a light on the end, so the health care provider can see the entire area. A sample for biopsy can be taken, if needed.

How to Prepare for the Test

You may receive a laxative, enema, or other preparation before the procedure so that you can completely empty your bowels. You should empty your bladder before the procedure.

How the Test Will Feel

There will be some discomfort during the procedure. You may feel the need to have a bowel movement. You may feel a pinch when a biopsy is taken.

You can usually return to normal activities after the procedure.

Why the Test is Performed

This test may be used to determine whether you have:

Normal Results

The anal canal appears normal in size, color, and tone. There is no sign of bleeding, polyps, hemorrhoids, or other abnormal tissue.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Abnormal results may include:

  • Abscess
  • Fissures
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Polyps (non-cancerous or cancerous)
  • Tumors

Risks

There are few risks. If a biopsy is needed, there is a slight risk of bleeding and mild pain.

References

Anoscopy. In: Roberts JR, Hedges JR, eds. Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:chap 45.


Review Date: 12/10/2012
Reviewed By: Robert A. Cowles, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, and Stephanie Slon.
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