University of California San Francisco | About UCSF | UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco
Search Site | Find a Doctor

Anoscopy

Definition

Anoscopy is a method to view the anus, anal canal, and lower rectum.

How the test is performed

A digital rectal exam is done first. Then, a lubricated instrument (anoscope) is placed a few inches into the rectum. You will feel some discomfort when this is done.

The anoscope has a light on the end, so the health care provider can see the entire anal canal. A specimen for biopsy can be taken if needed.

How to prepare for the test

You may receive a laxative, enema, or other preparation before the procedure so that you can completely empty your bowels.

How the test will feel

There will be some discomfort during the procedure, and you may feel the need to have a bowel movement. You may feel a pinch when a biopsy is taken.

Why the test is performed

This test may be used to determine whether you have:

  • Anal polyps
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Tumors

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 include:

  • Abscess
  • Fissures
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Polyps (non-cancerous or cancerous)
  • Tumors

What the risks are

There are few risks. If a biopsy is needed, there is a slight risk of bleeding and mild pain.

Review Date: 10/20/2008

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright ©2010 A.D.A.M., Inc., as modified by University of California San Francisco. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Information developed by A.D.A.M., Inc. regarding tests and test results may not directly correspond with information provided by UCSF Medical Center. Please discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.