Anoscopy is a procedure used to better visualize the rectum and anus.
It involves using an anoscope that allows the doctor to look for any abnormalities.A doctor might recommend an anoscopy for several reasons, including:
- To explore potential masses or the pathology of the rectal mucosa
- To look for internal hemorrhoids
- To see if there is a foreign body present
- To get samples of and to visualize anal squamous lesions
- To examine rectal polyps
- To see anal fissures
Prior to the procedure, the bowels and bladder need to be empty as it makes it easier to visualize the anus and rectum. It also makes the procedure more comfortable for the patient. An enema or laxative might be recommended up to 24 hours before the procedure for this purpose. Patients will also often be told to refrain from drinks or food for a short time prior to the procedure.
This procedure involves using an anoscope. This is a hollow and rigid tube. It is approximately two inches in width and three to five inches in length. It has a light on it so that the doctor is able to see the rectum and anus in detail during the procedure. Patients will need to remove their undergarments for this procedure.
The scope is lubricated and inserted into the rectum via the anus. It is important for the patient to relax while it is being inserted. It makes it easier to place the scope and it reduces any discomfort the patient might feel. Once the doctor is able to fully visualize the rectum and anus, the scope is carefully withdrawn. If other procedures will be done at the same time, these can usually be started immediately following an anoscopy. Once the procedure has ended, patients can usually get dressed and prepare to go back home.
Recovery and Possible Risks
While some pressure is possible, most patients do not experience pain during the procedure. A small amount of bleeding is possible in patients with hemorrhoids. A slight pinch can occur if a biopsy is taken. This is typically done as an outpatient procedure, so patients can often go home the same day.
Depending on the results, patients may need to have further testing. The doctor will provide recovery instructions. It is important to follow these exactly to ensure that the patient is comfortable and able to heal as quickly as possible. Most patients are able to return to their normal level activity within a day.
Knowing what to expect with an anoscopy is important. It can help you to be more at ease and help you to better understand why the procedure was recommended.