Anoscopy

Definition
An anoscopy is a procedure that enables a physician to view the anus, anal canal, and lower rectum using a speculum.

How the test is performed

First, the health care provider performs a digital rectal exam by inserting a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to determine if anything will block the insertion of the scope.

He or she then inserts a lubricated metal or plastic anoscope a few inches into the rectum. This enlarges the rectum to allow the health care provider to view the entire anal canal using a light. A specimen for biopsy can be taken if needed. As the scope is slowly removed, the lining of the anal canal is carefully inspected.

How to prepare for the test

You will be asked to defecate to clear your rectum of stool before the procedure. A laxative, enema, or other preparation may be administered to help clear your rectum.

Infants and children:
A child’s age and previous experience determine which steps are appropriate to prepare a child for this procedure. For specific recommendations, refer to the following topics as they correspond to your child’s age:

How the test will feel

There will be some pressure during the procedure, and you may feel the need to defecate. If biopsies are taken, you may feel a pinch.

Why the test is performed

This test may be used to determine whether you have hemorrhoids, anal polyps, tumors, inflammation, fissures, or infection.

Normal Values

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

What abnormal results mean

Abnormal results may indicate hemorrhoids, an abscess, inflammation, infection, fissures, tumors, or polyps (benign or malignant).

What the risks are

There are minimal risks for simple anoscopy. If a biopsy is needed, there is a limited risk of bleeding and mild pain.

 

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 2, 2012
by Arthur A. Poghosian, M.D.

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