Anorectal Manometry

Anorectal manometry is a test used to measure the function of the anal sphincter, sensation in the rectum and reflexes that are needed for normal bowel movements. This test provides the specialist with detailed information about your condition and/or cause of your symptoms, such as constipation, and stool accidents. It may also be done before or after surgery to check how your rectal muscles and nerves are working.

How is Anorectal Manometry performed?

During an anorectal manometry, a doctor/specialist nurse places a small, soft and flexible tube (see picture at the end of this document), approximately 5 centimetres into the rectum. A tiny balloon is attached to the end of the tube. This balloon is filled with small amounts of air to measure how your muscles and nerves work inside the rectum and anal canal in response to applied pressure.

What is the preparation for Anorectal Manometry?

An enema is administered at home on the day of the test. You will receive instructions regarding the type of enema to be used. If there are any additional instructions for your preparation you will be contacted by our staff. If you have a latex allergy please let us know as a latex-free balloon will be used. This test is not painful, but some patients may feel anxious about it.

What happens during an Anorectal Manometry?

  • You will be escorted to the room where the test is done. The test will take about 30 minutes.
  • You will lie on your left side for the procedure. The doctor/ specialist nurse places a small soft and flexible tube into the rectum. This tube is attached to a computer. The computer measures how well the anal muscles work.
  • The doctor/ specialist nurse slowly inflates and deflates a tiny balloon on the end of the tube. At the same time, the computer records the activity of the nerves and muscles in the rectum. There is no discomfort associated with this. The doctor/ specialist nurse may ask you to say when you feel the balloon as it inflates. The doctor/ specialist nurse may also ask you to squeeze down on the tube or try to push the tube out of the rectum. Again, this is not uncomfortable.
  • The doctor/ specialist nurse will remove the tube when the test is finished.

What happens after an Anorectal Manometry?

You may return to normal diet and carry out your usual activities.

How can I access my Anorectal Manometry results?

The information from your test is analysed by a colorectal surgeon and the results are sent through to your referring specialist. You will have follow-up with the specialist to review the results, which you will be contacted to arrange.

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