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The insides of the rectum and anus are examined during a proctoscopy (rigid sigmoidoscopy). A proctoscope is a hollow tube with a tiny light at the end that can be used to capture tissue samples for biopsies as part of a cancer screening procedure. Your gastroenterologist can utilize the technique to rule out other causes of rectal and anal bleeding, such as hemorrhoids.


What is a proctoscopy?

A proctoscopy (also known as rigid sigmoidoscopy) is a procedure that involves looking within the rectum and anus. Tumors, polyps, inflammation, bleeding, and hemorrhoids are all common reasons for this procedure.

A proctoscope is a long, hollow metal or plastic tube with a tiny light at the end that allows a gastroenterologist to examine the rectum in great detail. Through the hollow tube, a tool that can take tissue samples for biopsy can be inserted.

What is the rectum?

The rectum, which ends at the anus, is the last portion of the lower gastrointestinal tract. Feces are stored in the rectum until they are expelled from the body. The rectum has the ability to compress and expand. It causes the need to defecate as it expands.

Why is a proctoscopy done?

A proctoscopy is done to:

  • Detect disease in the rectum or anus.
  • Find the source of anal bleeding.
  • Find the cause of diarrhea or constipation.
  • Remove or monitor the development of existing polyps or growths.
  • Screen for colon cancer or monitor rectal cancer that has already been treated.

How do I prepare for a proctoscopy?

The most critical aspect of proctoscopy preparation is to completely clean the rectum. It is critical that this is completed. The easier it is for the doctor to check the rectum, the more fully it is emptied.

Cleaning the rectum can be done in a variety of ways; your doctor will advise you on the best procedure for you. To get rid of waste, several doctors recommend having an enema. Make sure you follow the directions exactly.

What should I expect during a proctoscopy?

Proctoscopy can be done at a hospital or in a doctor's office. Anesthesia is not required for the majority of proctoscopy examinations.

The doctor will perform a preliminary rectal examination with a gloved, lubricated finger before inserting the proctoscope gently. You may feel compelled to move your bowels when the scope is slowly and cautiously moved through your body. You may experience cramping or fullness as air is pushed into your colon to aid the doctor's vision using the proctoscope. During the process, there is usually little discomfort.

What are the risks of a proctoscopy?

Proctoscopy has a low risk of complications. It's possible that a patient will experience rectal bleeding as a result of the proctoscope being inserted or if the rectum lining is inflamed. A patient may get an infection as a result of the surgery. Both problems are extremely uncommon.

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