Rectal ultrasound is used to assess tumors, trauma or infection of the rectum or anus. Transrectal ultrasound is used to assess tumors of the prostate gland.
Usually the only requirement is an empty rectum, which is achieved by an enema either taken at home prior to the procedure or upon arrival at the Digestive Health Center.
A thin tube called a proctoscope is inserted through the anus into the rectum. An ultrasound probe is passed through the proctoscope to obtain images of the rectum and surrounding tissues. The doctor may also take biopsies during the procedure, which will take approximately 15 minutes.
You may or may not be sedated for the procedure, but if you're worried the pressure of the proctoscope will be uncomfortable, talk with your doctor ahead of time. If you receive sedation, you will need a companion to drive you home. You may also temporarily experience a very small amount of bleeding from your rectum. Preliminary results may be discussed after the procedure, and if necessary, a follow-up appointment with any physician on Memorial Hermann's multi-disciplinary team may be scheduled.
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