A specialist will examine the anus area using a thin tube called an anoscope.

Having a close examination of the anus may be painful, so it is usually done under a general anaesthetic. Occasionally it may be done in the hospital outpatients department using a local anaesthetic.

Doctors use a thin tube called an anoscope to examine the anal canal. If they want to examine the rectum as well, they use a slightly longer tube called a proctoscope.

You lie on your left side with your knees drawn up towards your chest. The doctor gently passes the tube, which has a light and a magnifier on the end, into your back passage to find any abnormal areas. They may apply a liquid to these areas to help them show up more clearly. The doctor removes a small sample of cells (biopsy) from any abnormal areas, so they can be examined under a microscope.

You should be able to go home as soon as the test is over or when you’ve recovered from the general anaesthetic.

Sometimes doctors can take a biopsy of the anal margin without using an anoscope or proctoscope. If you have this biopsy taken, you will have a local anaesthetic to numb the area first.

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