What is rectoscopy?
A rectoscopy is a diagnostic exploration technique performed endoscopically that allows us to see the inside wall of the rectum (last part of the large intestine, colon) and thus be able to detect the presence of polyps, tumors, hemorrhoids or other rectal problems.
What does it consist of?
During the rectoscopy, the specialist uses a very small flexible tube, about 25-30cm long (rectoscope) which has a camera at the end, and introduces it through the anus, up to the colon. The specialist will insufflate a little gas to distend the trajectory and to be able to access correctly. The patient must be lying on his side and under sedation, usually general anesthesia. The images captured by the rectoscope are displayed on a screen, so that the specialist can observe the walls of the rectum in real time and detect any problem or abnormality. The tube can have small forceps to extract biopsies, if necessary, and then analyze the tissue.
In general, it is a simple test that does not generate discomfort or complications, and the patient goes home the same day.
Why is it performed?
A rectoscopy can diagnose diseases affecting the rectum, such as internal hemorrhoids, polyps or tumors. The specialist usually indicates this test when the patient presents abdominal pain without a specific origin, or anal bleeding.
Preparation for rectoscopy
To be able to perform the rectoscopy it is important that the colon is empty and clean, so the patient should apply 2 enemas: one the night before and another 2 hours before the test. In addition, the day before the test, you must be fed only with liquids and serum. On the day of the test, you may not drink anything, including water.
What do you feel during the test?
In most cases, and more currently, general anesthesia is used, so that the patient does not notice anything or remember anything about the test because he/she is asleep.
If general sedation is not used, it is normal for the patient to feel some pain (cramping) or a desire to go to the bathroom when the tube is inserted.
Significance of abnormal results
If necessary, the specialist will remove tissue for analysis (biopsy). After the analysis there may be results considered normal or may mean colon cancer. In such a case, the specialist will clearly explain the result to the patient and will indicate the next steps to be taken, and what therapy can be applied.