What is a proctoscopy?

A proctoscopy (also called rigid sigmoidoscopy) is a procedure to examine the inside of the rectum and the anus. It is usually done to look for tumors, polyps, inflammation, bleeding, or hemorrhoids.

A proctoscope is a straight, hollow metal or plastic tube, sometimes with a tiny light at the end, that allows the gastroenterologist to make a detailed examination of the rectum. An instrument that can take tissue samples for biopsy may be inserted through the hollow tube.

What is the rectum?

The rectum is the final section of the lower gastrointestinal tract that ends at the anus. The rectum stores feces until they can be emptied from the body. The rectum is able to expand and contract. When it expands, it produces the urge to defecate.

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.

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