Proctologists are surgeons who diagnose and treat disorders of the rectum, anus, and all gastrointestinal tracts. The preferred term these days over proctologist is "colorectal surgeon" or "colon and rectal surgeon". The term "proctology" refers to a colorectal examination that makes it possible to learn more about the appropriate operation of the colonic system.
Determining the reason and severity of any potential problems makes it crucial because a healthy colon system is necessary for a better digestive system. Therefore, it is best to refer the patient to a proctologist when the GP is unable to provide colorectal-related answers.
It is important for surgeons to fully understand all of the patient's symptoms. If they don't know all the symptoms, they have a hard time diagnosing the patient and determining what type of treatment they need. That's why it's so important to talk openly with the surgeon. Otherwise, the patient may pass unnecessary tests or experience a delay in diagnosis and treatment. (1)
Definition and Overview
A medical specialty known as proctology is concerned with the medical diagnosis and treatment of conditions that affect the anus, rectum, and colon. Proctologists or colorectal surgeons are medical professionals that specialize in proctology. This area is also known as colorectal surgery. The patient's primary care physician might advise that the patient consult a proctologist if it is determined that the patient has a problem affecting the lower digestive system. They can treat
- the growth of abnormal cells affects the health of the colon, rectum, or anus.,
- occasional constipation and constant constipation problems,
- irritation and swelling in the intestines that affect the body's ability to digest food, absorb nutrients, and remove waste,
- swelling of blood vessels in the anus and blockage of bowel movements,
- inability to control gas or bowel movements,
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Proctologists usually recommend less invasive treatment first. It may be necessary to avoid certain foods or make lifestyle changes to improve symptoms. If this works, medicine or surgery may not be needed. If the condition worsens, the proctologist may refer to a proctology procedure to examine the condition more closely, learn more, and treat it. (2)
The procedures that colorectal surgeons most frequently undertake include a number of diagnostic tests and surgical procedures.
Anoscopy is a simple medical procedure that can help a doctor identify an abnormality in the gastrointestinal tract, especially in the anus and rectum. To perform an anoscopy, the doctor inserts a device called an anoscope into the anus. This scope is typically made of plastic (disposable) or stainless steel (sterilizable). An anoscope allows the doctor to take a detailed look at the tissue in the anal-rectal areas. Cancer, anal fissure rips, hemorrhoids, and rectal polyps are just a few of the disorders and diseases that can affect the lower region of the colon that can be found during an anoscopy.
A colonoscopy allows the doctor to look inside the colon and the rest of the large intestine to check for any abnormalities or diseases. A colonoscope, a small, flexible tube with a light and camera attached, is used during this surgery. The doctor may perform a biopsy or remove abnormal tissue, such as polyps, during a colonoscopy.
- Bowel obstruction repair
A person may require surgery if a blockage does not disappear on its own. Sometimes a blockage results in intestinal damage that needs to be corrected upon removal.
- Hemorrhoid removal
While some hemorrhoids heal with time, some are chronic and reduce the quality of life. To stop further damage, large, uncomfortable hemorrhoids are simple to remove.
Proctoscopy is used to diagnose problems with the rectum and anus. A hollow tube called a proctoscope is used to perform this procedure. Light and lens in the device enable the doctor to examine the inside of the rectum. Another name for the procedure is rigid sigmoidoscopy. It is distinct from flexible sigmoidoscopy, a different kind of test intended to identify issues in the lower region of the colon.
A flexible tube with a light on it is used during the sigmoidoscopy procedure, also known as flexible sigmoidoscopy, to allow the doctor to see into the sigmoid colon. It assists the doctor in looking for polyps, cancer, abnormal cells, and ulcers. (3,4)
Seeing a colorectal surgeon may not come to mind until another doctor has referred the patient to someone else. However, the patient experiencing symptoms such as the following may need a proctology procedure.
- anal itching or burning
- bleeding or other discharge from the anus
- anal or rectal pain
- anal warts, bumps, or foreign body sensation
It is important for a colorectal surgeon to fully understand all of the symptoms.The doctor may have a hard time making a diagnosis and figuring out what kind of treatment is required if they lack knowledge of all the symptoms. (5)
Risks and Side Effects
There are typically few risks and side effects from proctology procedures. However, in the vast majority of cases, the advantages of spotting issues and starting treatment far exceed the risks of proctology procedures having difficulties. Here are the most common risks and side effects associated with proctology.
- Reaction to anesthesia
- Belly pain or discomfort
- Polyps (abnormal growths)
- A tear in the rectum (6,7,8)
Post-Procedure and Follow-up
It is quite normal to feel some discomfort in the rectum and anus immediately after the procedure. Light bleeding from the rectum or blood in bowel movements is also common after a few days which is quite normal. If a biopsy is done, it is sent to the lab for testing. The doctor will notify the patient of the results, normally within a few days when the results are ready.
Proctology procedures have fairly easy recovery processes compared to other major medical procedures. During the recovery period, he may experience some gas and bloating, but if there is a serious problem that continues even after days, the patient should immediately consult a doctor.
Doctors ensure that the patient completes the diagnosis and treatment process of the disease by applying tests, laboratory studies, prescription drugs, and appropriate treatments as a result of proctology procedures.
1,3,5- Healthline. What Is a Proctologist, and What Do They Treat? (https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-a-proctologist)
2,4- WebMD. What Is a Proctologist? (https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/what-is-a-proctologist)
6- WebMD. Colonoscopy Risks. (https://www.webmd.com/colorectal-cancer/colonoscopy-risks)
7- Johns Hopkins Medicine. Sigmoidoscopy. (https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/sigmoidoscopy)
8- Healthline. What Is a Proctoscopy Procedure? (https://www.healthline.com/health/proctoscopy)