Proctoscopy is an internal exploratory examination of the inside of the rectum and anus. The doctor uses a proctoscope, which is inserted through the rectum. This examination is carried out in order to detect or exclude any defects. Proctoscopy is a type of endoscopy.
Disorders that can be detected with proctoscopy are: hemorrhoids, rupture in the anus (anal fissure), protruding intestine (rectal prolapse), inflammation of the rectum (proctitis), polyps and rectal cancer.
The proctoscope is a short metal tube with a diameter of 2.5 centimeters. This allows the doctor to look into the rectum. Via the proctoscope, the doctor may also perform minor surgery immediately.
The examination is usually conducted in a kneeling position, but sometimes also lying on the left side. The doctor will first apply an anesthetic ointment to the anus. Then the proctoscope is gently inserted into the rectum. The doctor slowly pulls the instrument back and can thus see the mucosa well. Sometimes, the doctor takes some tissue samples (biopsies). These samples are analyzed under the microscope. Taking a biopsy is painless and the patient doesn’t notice anything.
During proctoscopy, hemorrhoids can be treated. The doctor applies tiny rubber bands around the blood vessels (lodicules). This causes the hemorrhoid to die. This treatment isn't painful, but bowel movement can hurt in the days after the surgery.
The examination takes 5 to 10 minutes and can be nasty. When additional procedures are performed during the examination, it lasts longer.