What is an anoscopy procedure?
Anoscopy is a procedure to examine the walls of the anus and part of the rectum. It is performed with a rigid tube (anoscope) that is inserted a few inches into the anal canal. Anoscopy enables the doctor to visualize the anal canal and the lower part of the rectum.
The anoscope is also called an anal speculum. Anoscopes may have lights, or the doctor may use a separate source of light for viewing. A specialist doctor may sometimes use a high-resolution anoscope with a microscope that offers a magnified view.
Is anoscopy a surgical procedure?
Anoscopy is not a surgical procedure. It is a minimally invasive diagnostic procedure done in a doctor’s office. The entire procedure may take 20-30 minutes.
Is an anoscopy painful?
Most people feel no pain during an anoscopy. The patient may feel a pressure like an urge for bowel movement, or a pinch if tissue is removed for biopsy. There usually is no requirement for any painkiller or sedation.
Rarely, sedation may be required:
- For people who have a distortion in their anatomy and are unable to tolerate the procedure.
- When the doctor is unsuccessful in removing a foreign body found inside the anorectal canal.
Why is an anoscopy performed?
Anoscopy is performed to examine the anus and lower rectum, the lowermost parts of the gastrointestinal tract. The doctor usually performs a digital rectal examination (DRE) first.
In a DRE the doctor inserts a finger and feels the anal canal for abnormalities. Anoscopy is used to visually examine the anorectal region when a DRE does not yield sufficient information for diagnosis, or when a biopsy sample is required.
Anoscopy may be used to detect the cause of anal or rectal
Anoscopy may be required in the following situations:
- Anal fissures: tears in the anal tissue which may be due to
- Crohn’s disease
- Abscesses: pus-filled pockets in the tissue, caused by infection. They may result from
- blocked anal gland
- infection of anal fissures
- sexually transmitted infections
- inflammatory bowel disease
- Hemorrhoids: inflamed and swollen veins which may be inside the anus or rectum or around the anal opening.
- Polyps: abnormal tissue growth that may be benign or precancerous.
- Proctitis: inflammation of the lining of the rectum.
- Tumors or cancer: less common than colon cancer and may warrant further investigation of the colon.
- Foreign objects in the anorectal canal: more invasive methods may be required if not removable via anoscopy.
How is an anoscopy performed?
An anoscopy is a minor outpatient procedure performed by a doctor to evaluate conditions of the anus and rectum.
- The patient must empty the bladder and bowel, if necessary, with a laxative or enema.
- No colon cleansing or diet restriction is required.
- The patients typically lie on their side in a fetal position with knees drawn to the chest or may kneel and bend forward.
- The doctor inserts an analgesic jelly in the anal canal about 10 minutes before the procedure.
- The doctor first visually inspects the anal area.
- The doctor makes a digital rectal examination by inserting a finger to ensure there is no mass or obstruction that can be injured by the insertion of the anoscope.
- The doctor slowly inserts the lubricated anoscope while the patient bears down like pushing for a bowel movement.
- The doctor examines the anorectal canal through the anoscope with a light.
- The doctor may remove some tissue for biopsy.
- The doctor slowly withdraws the anoscope.
- Depending on the results the doctor will decide on further course of treatment.
- The patient will be able to leave immediately after the procedure and resume normal activities.
What are the side effects and risks of anoscopy?
An anoscopy carries nearly no side effects or risks. Patients may experience
- a slight discomfort
- light bleeding for a short while if there are hemorrhoids
- a mild pain for a little while if any tissue was removed for biopsy
Top Is an Anoscopy Painful Related Articles
Anal FissureAn anal fissure is a small tear or cut in the skin lining of the anus. Pain and/or rectal bleeding during bowel movements are common symptoms of anal fissures. Treatment includes increasing liquid intake, using stool softeners, prescription medications, and surgery.
How to Stop Anal ItchingAnal itching is the irritation of the skin at the exit of the rectum, known as the anus, accompanied by the desire to scratch. Causes include everything from irritating foods we eat, to certain diseases, and infections. Treatment options include over-the-counter medications, using moist pads, and gentle cleaning and drying of the anus.
Blood in the Stool (Rectal Bleeding, Hematochezia)Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding (hematochezia) refers to the passage of bright red blood from the anus. Common causes include anal fissures, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, colitis, Crohn's disease, colon and rectum polyps, and cancer. The color of the blood in the stool may provide information about the origin of the bleeding. The color of stool with blood in it may range from black, red, maroon, green yellow, gray, or white, and may be tarry, or sticky. Treatment of blood in the stool depends on the cause.
Colon Cancer: How Your Food and Diet Can Affect Colorectal Cancer HealthDiet, including nutrient, antioxidant, and vitamin intake, affects colon cancer risk. Certain dietary factors either decrease or increase the risk of colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and other diseases. Dietary factors may either inhibit or stimulate the development of cancer cells. Have a nutrition plan that decreases the risk.
Colon Cancer IllustrationsMost, if not all, of these cancers develop from colonic polyps. Removal of these precancerous polyps can prevent colon cancer. See a picture of Colon Cancer and learn more about the health topic.
Colon and Colorectal Cancer ScreeningColon cancer is preventable by removing precancerous colon polyps, and it is curable if early cancer is surgically removed before cancer spreads to other parts of the body. Therefore, if screening and surveillance programs were practiced universally, there would be a major reduction in the incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer.
Colon PolypsColon polyps are fleshy growths inside the colon lining that may become cancerous. Symptoms include rectal bleeding. Learn about causes, signs, treatment, and how to prevent colon cancer.
Colonoscopy Procedure and PreparationA colonoscopy is a procedure whereby a docotor inserts a viewing tube (colonoscope) into the rectum for the purpose of inspecting the colon. Colonoscopy is the best method currently available to diagnose, detect, and treat abnormalities within the colon.
Colorectal (Colon) Cancer QuizWhat is colorectal (colon) cancer and who gets it? Take this quiz to find out how this disease may be prevented.
Colon Cancer SlideshowColorectal cancer (colon cancer) is the cause of many cancer deaths. Learn about the warning signs, symptoms, screening process, stages, and treatment related to colorectal cancer.
Endoscopy vs. ColonoscopyBoth endoscopy and colonoscopy are nonsurgical procedures that involve use of a flexible tube with a light and camera to examine parts of the digestive tract. A colonoscopy is a type of endoscopy.
Hemorrhoids (Internal and External)Hemorrhoids (piles) are swollen veins in the rectum and anus. Causes include pregnancy, obesity, diarrhea, low-fiber diet, and prolonged sitting on the toilet. Treatment varies depending upon the severity of the hemorrhoids. Some treatment options include over-the-counter creams and suppositories, stool softeners, warm sitz baths, and hemorrhoidectomies.
All About PolypsDo you know what a polyp is? Learn the definition of a polyp, which can be found in the sinuses, stomach, colon, gallbladder, and elsewhere. Learn about endometrial polyps, adenomatous polyps, sessile polyps, pedunculated polyps, uterine polyps, and cervical polyps. Some are more likely to cause cancer.
Sigmoidoscopy vs. ColonoscopyBoth sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy are nonsurgical procedures that involve use of a tube (endoscope) with a light and camera to examine parts of the large intestine (colon). A sigmoidoscopy is a procedure in which a fiberoptic camera is used to examine the rectum and lower part of the colon. The difference between a sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy is that a colonoscopy examines the upper part of the colon as well.
Virtual ColonoscopyVirtual colonoscopy is a procedure that uses a CT scan to construct virtual images of the colon. Virtual colonoscopy takes approximately 10 minutes, and in comparison to traditional colonoscopy is less invasive and requires no conscious sedation. Virtual colonoscopy may not be recommended for some patients due to their medical history.