Rectoscopy and anoscopy - THDLAB - COM

  • Rectoscopy and anoscopy: what they are and how they are performed
  • Rectoscopy and anoscopy: differences
  • Rectoscopy and anoscopy: preparation
  • High-resolution anoscopy (HRA): what it is and how it is performed

Rectoscopy and anoscopy: what they are and how they are performed

Rectoscopy and anoscopy are tests which allow diagnosing diseases of the anal area and of the lower part of the rectum. Rectoscopy and anoscopy are an integral part of the rectal examination.

Specific instruments are used to perform these tests: the anoscope and the rectoscope. These devices, properly lubricated and with the aid of a specific introducer, are gently inserted into the anal orifice.

Once the desired depth is reached, the doctor removes the introducer and begins to remove the instrument. While extracting the device, the specialist performs light circular movements which allow him/her to have a complete view of the walls of the lower rectum and of the anal canal.

Through anoscopy and rectoscopy, the specialist can diagnose numerous diseases including haemorrhoids, anal or rectal polyps, anal fistulas, condylomata (warts), fissures, anus and rectum cancer.


Rectoscopy and anoscopy: differences

The anoscope is shorter than the rectoscope and allows inspection of the anal canal. The rectoscope is longer and allows inspection of the lower portion of the rectum as well.

The rectoscope can be equipped with a magnifying glass and an insufflator for a better view of the area inspected thanks to the enlarged visualisation and to the slight dilation of the rectal walls. In expert hands, a rectoscopy, as well as an anoscopy, is not painful and is an exam which lasts just a few minutes.


Rectoscopy and anoscopy: preparation

To allow an adequate view of the anorectal canal, the patient may be required to perform an enema the day before the exam and a few hours before the visit. No dietary changes or laxatives or medications are required.


High-resolution anoscopy (HRA): what it is and how it is performed

High-resolution anoscopy (HRA) is the evolution of traditional anoscopy. Like traditional anoscopy, HRA can be performed in day hospital without anaesthesia. HRA is in fact a minimally invasive exam lasting just a few minutes.

Through this exam, the specialist can view enlarged images of the anal canal, record them and compare them with the results of subsequent diagnostic tests.

HRA allows to accurately visualise any lesion of the anal canal. During the examination it is also possible to perform the possible removal of these lesions or to perform a tissue biopsy.

To date, this exam represents one of the most reliable tools for diagnosing lesions caused by the HPV virus, even at an early stage.

Thanks to this examination, in the most experienced centres, the doctor can already confirm or exclude the presence of lesions which could degenerate into cancer of the anus. However, biopsy remains appropriate to accurately identify the features and stage of lesions.