Reference Index - Medical Tests

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Anal biopsy
Anal biopsy


Rectal biopsy

Definition:

A rectal biopsy is a procedure to remove a small piece of rectal tissue for examination.



Alternative Names:

Biopsy - rectum



How the test is performed:

A rectal biopsy is usually part of anoscopy or sigmoidoscopy .

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

A biopsy can be taken through any of these instruments.



How to prepare for the test:

You may get a laxative, enema, or other preparation before the biopsy 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 an urge to have a bowel movement. Cramping sometimes occurs as the instrument is placed into the rectal area.



Why the test is performed:

A rectal biopsy is used to determine the cause of abnormal growths found during anoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or other tests. It can also be used to confirm the diagnosis of amyloidosis .



Normal Values:

The anus and rectum appear normal in size, color, and shape. There should be no evidence of bleeding, polyps, hemorrhoids , or other abnormalities. When biopsy tissue is examined under a microscope, no abnormalities should be noted.



What abnormal results mean:

This test is one of the more common ways to confirm amyloidosis. It also determines the specific causes of abnormal conditions of the rectum, such as colitis . Other findings could include:

The test may be also performed for:



What the risks are:

There is some risk of bleeding and tearing. Occasionally, patients have problems with urinary retention and an inability to urinate after rectal biopsy.



Special considerations:




Review Date: 10/20/2008
Reviewed By: Christine Lee, MD, Department of Surgery, Marin General Hospital, Greenbrae, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed byDavid Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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