Motility and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders Center | Motility Testing

Families from all over the world come to Boston Children’s for the most precise and advanced testing available. Our GI motility doctors are pioneers in the evaluation of motility and the development of new non-invasive tests and are training the next generation of leaders in this field. Meet our GI motility team.


Many of our patients have complex illnesses and have been referred to our clinic by other pediatric gastroenterologists, pediatric surgeons or primary care pediatricians. Many of these patients are referred to our clinic for our advanced motility testing, including high-resolution manometry. These are very detailed imaging tests that help doctors understand your child’s condition in less time, with less discomfort and significantly more detail than standard manometry procedures.

Advanced GI Motility Tests at Boston Children’s

Properly evaluating and treating motility disorders often requires a range of specialized tests or procedures. Some of these tests are invasive, but the team at Boston Children's has years of experience making them as comfortable as possible for young patients and their families. Many of our tests use minimally invasive techniques.

To properly diagnose and treat your child, an evaluation plan may involve one or more of the following:

We will review your child’s medical records in advance so that an evaluation plan can be formulated before the initial appointment. Once the records have been reviewed, our specialists will make customized recommendations for immediate and ongoing GI motility treatment. A plan will be formulated and we will arrange for you to have all the necessary evaluations and procedures. These will occur during the same visit, which assists patients who are traveling to Boston for their appointment.

Outpatient and Same-day Procedures at Boston Children’s

One considerable advantage of testing and treatment at Boston Children’s GI Motility Clinic is the availability of coordinated appointments and testing during the same visit. While there is always the chance that additional evaluations may be needed—some of which may require a hospital stay—most visits can be scheduled to occur in the same place on the same date. Depending on your child's condition, he or she may need to see specialists from other programs or centers at Boston Children's. We do our best to make those visits convenient for your family and comfortable for your child.

Preparing for Your Visit To Boston Children’s Hospital

You and your child may have questions about an upcoming test or procedure at the Motility and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders Center. While each child and visit is different, the following information applies to a majority of our patients.

Before your visit:

  • Talk honestly and openly with your child about the upcoming test or procedure. Explain in simple terms why the test is needed and what will happen.
  • To help comfort your child, tell him or her that he or she may bring a favorite book, stuffed animal, blanket or music.
  • You will be able to stay with your child during the test. (Or, in some cases, you will stay with the child until he or she falls asleep from sedation medication.)
  • Most tests and procedures are not painful, but some children may have discomfort when certain medications are given. They may also need to stay still, in bed or a chair, during the test.
  • Some tests may require more invasive procedures to place the motility catheters, such as endoscopy and colonoscopy. Those procedures will be done under anesthesia, and the motility test will occur after the anesthesia wears off, either on the same or the next day. The actual motility testing is not painful.

During the visit:

  • If possible, do not bring siblings or any other children with you to the test.
  • If you must bring other children, please have another adult present so you can focus on the needs of the patient.
  • In many cases it is important that your child remain still during his procedure. If you feel your child will have trouble staying still, please let us know. Some children need sedation (medicine to cause sleepiness) to help them sleep during the test.

After the visit:

  • If your child did not require sedation, please talk with a doctor or nurse about how soon you will be able to leave the hospital.
  • If your child did receive sedation, the nurse will move him or her to the recovery area while you head to the family waiting area. From there, a nurse will bring you to the recovery area to be with your child.
  • Because your child may still be sleepy or unsteady after sedation, please arrange to have private transportation to go home. Do not plan to take public transportation. If a ride has not been arranged, the test may need to be rescheduled for a time when private transportation is available.

If you have any questions about an upcoming test, procedure or any other aspect of your child's treatment, please reach out to any member of your care team—he or she will be able to explain what to expect during your visit and share tips on how to make it as easy as possible.

Make an Appointment

For an appointment, more information or to obtain a second opinion for your child, please contact the Motility and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders Center at 617-355-6055 or request an appointment online.