Test / Diagnostic Procedure: High-Resolution Anoscopy

High-resolution anoscopy is a simple procedure used to detect abnormal and suspicious cells in the anus.

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What is a high-resolution anoscopy?

High-resolution anoscopy is an examination of the anal canal. It is performed with the aim to help diagnose anal conditions and mainly to look for abnormal cells in the anus that have a high chance of turning into cancer.

The procedure takes around 10 minutes to complete and is performed on an outpatient basis at OneWelbeck.

Why is a high-resolution anoscopy performed?

High-resolution anoscopy may be recommended if you are experiencing symptoms such as:

  • Pain in or near your anus
  • Bleeding from your rectum
  • Anal itching

The procedure can help identify abnormal cells in the lining of the anus and rectum, so it is especially helpful in screening for and diagnosing suspicious anal lesions and also for monitoring for the return of anal cancer after treatment.

Usually this is recommended after a positive HPV test, especially when this shows that the patient could be at higher risk for anal dysplasia or anal cancer.

What does high-resolution anoscopy involve?

To have a high-resolution anoscopy you will be lying on your side with your knees bent and pulled up toward your chest.

This diagnostic test uses a small diameter plastic tube, slightly wider than a finger, and this is inserted gently in the anus after being lubricated. Differently from a standard anoscope, this is connected to a screen and the view is magnified many times, so the doctor can see better images, reducing chances to miss small abnormalities that usually are hard to see with a naked eye.

Sometimes biopsies are necessary to make a final diagnosis. This may involve taking small samples of tissue. Usually the procedure is pain free and could cause only minimal controlled bleeding.

Preparing for a high-resolution anoscopy

There is no preparation needed for a high-resolution anoscopy. However, it is advised to avoid enemas or anything to clear out the anal canal as this may wash away cells that need to be collected for testing. You should also avoid placing anything in your anal canal for 24 hours prior to the procedure.

Recovering from a high-resolution anoscopy

The procedure is not painful but you may feel some discomfort and pressure. You may experience some soreness afterwards and there may be some mild bleeding if a biopsy was taken, but these should go away after a few days.

The test does not require anaesthetic or sedation so it’s safe for you to drive yourself home and go about your normal activities straight after the procedure.

High-resolution anoscopy Specialists

We have brought together a group of leading colorectal and general surgeons and gastroenterologists to create our Digestive Health team. With over 300 years of combined experience, these expert clinicians are the best in their field and are all focused on delivering the very best patient care.