Endoanal ultrasound is a special type of ultrasound device used to examine the anal canal and the lower part of the rectum. It is able to produce very accurate images of the walls and muscles of the anus/rectum and detect any thinning of the muscles or other damage. This test is frequently recommended to investigate patients who are complaining of faecal incontinence, rectal prolapse, constipation or symptoms of obstructed defaecation.
Endoanal ultrasound is used in the assessment both of cancerous and non-cancerous conditions affecting the anal canal and rectum, such as:
- Anal abscess.
- Anal cancer.
- Anal fistula.
- Crohn's disease.
- Faecal incontinence.
- Obstructed defecation.
- Rectal cancer.
- Rectal prolapse.
Prior to your appointment for Diagnostic testing it is essential that you administer a Microlax enema 2 hours before your appointment. This will ensure that your bowels are completely empty for the testing. Microlax enemas are available from reception or can be purchased at your local pharmacy for approximately $5 each.
The ultrasound probe, which is rigid and around the same size as a finger, is inserted slowly into the anus. The patient lies down on his/her left side with knees pulled up during the procedure, which generally takes 15-30 minutes. Normally no anaesthetic or pain medication is required, however if specific painful conditions such as an anal fissure or any infection are present, the procedure can be conducted under an anaesthetic.
Post Procedure Instructions
Patients are generally able to go home immediately after the procedure and normal activities can be resumed straight away. Results of the examination are also available on the day of the procedure and are sent to your specialist and doctor.
The endoanal ultrasound procedure is very safe. Complications such as bleeding or perforation of the bowel are very uncommon indeed, and where they occur they can be treated using endoscopy (i.e. there is often no need for open surgery but in rare cases it may be required).