What is the purpose of the anorectal ultrasound examination?

23/10/2017

Among the tests that aid the evaluation of diseases of the anorectal region, anorectal ultrasonography is commonly indicated. The ultrasound device is introduced into the anal canal and rectum, producing a 360 degree image over the entire region. As it does not emit ionizing radiation, it is a fairly safe examination for people of all ages.

The procedure is important for the identification of dysfunctions of the digestive tract, such as intestinal constipation and fecal incontinence, which affect from 1% to 7.4% of the world population. It usually does not cause pain and offers little discomfort to the patient, resembling a rectal examination.

In addition to the diagnosis, anorectal ultrasound is also used to monitor proctological diseases, such as trauma, lesions resulting from anorectal and perineal surgeries, fecal incontinence, anal and rectal tumors, local infections and anal fistulas, among others. Despite being a quick examination, the quality of the images and their correct interpretation depend on the examiner’s experience and the quality of the equipment.

At Colono we use the modern equipment Erison ER12, equipment of North American manufacture which produces images of high resolution and quality. In addition, you have the experience of Dr. Fábio Soares and his team, pioneers in the introduction of anorectal ultrasonography in Brasilia, about ten years ago.

How Anorectal Ultrasound Works

Also known as endothelial ultrasound, endorectal ultrasound, anorectal endosonography, or anorectal ultrasound, the procedure is performed in the anal and rectal canal by the introduction of a rotational transducer.
This equipment allows the visualization of all the structures of the region in a peripheral way, producing radial images of the whole circumference and in real time.

In the anal canal examination, there is no specific preparation. When the examination is performed on the rectum it needs to be clean, to facilitate proper analysis and quality images. Only in these cases, an intestinal lavage is required, performed by the application of two units of PhosphoEnema or Fleet Enema two hours before the examination.

In both cases, fasting is not necessary, except in the rare cases where there is a need for sedation (only in cases where intense anal pain is the reason for the test, as in perianal abscesses.) In these cases only, fasting of solids for twelve hours and liquids for at least three hours is required before the exam.
Anorectal ultrasound usually lasts for about 15 minutes and the patient is released to his normal activities soon after. In the rare cases where sedation is required, patients need an escort and should rest for the next twelve hours.

Although the exam is fast, the study of the images by the physician should be thorough. Therefore, the report is usually only released the next day and is printed on a high-resolution color laser printer. This way, your doctor will have access to high quality images.

Indications for performing anorectal ultrasound

By bringing information about the structure of the rectum and anus, anorectal ultrasonography is indicated in a series of situations that need further investigation:

  • Evaluation of patients with fecal incontinence
  • Presence of anorectal fistulas
  • Identification and staging of tumors
  • Assessment of response to radiation therapy and follow-up of cancer treatment of the anus or rectum
  • Some causes of intestinal constipation

At Colono, the anorectal ultrasound equipment is one of the most modern available. Its portable configuration allows it to be used in any clinic environment, even in the Surgical Center – which facilitates in making operative decisions, as in the case of hidden abscesses.

Schedule your exam online now at Colono – your Digestive System Clinic!

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