Anorectal Manometry

What is an anorectal manometry?

Anorectal manometry is often done to help find the cause of your child's symptoms, such as constipation, stool accidents or other bowel problems. It may also be done before or after surgery to check how your child's rectal muscles and nerves are working.

During an anorectal manometry, a doctor places a small, soft, flexible tube into the rectum. A tiny balloon is attached to the end of the tube. This balloon is filled with small amounts of air to measure how your child's muscles and nerves work inside the rectum.

What happens before an anorectal manometry?

You will receive instructions in the mail regarding the bowel preparation, or you will receive a call to tell you what you need to do to get your child ready for the test. If your child has a latex allergy, make sure to tell the nurse at this time. A latex-free balloon will then be used for your child.

This test is not painful, but some children may feel anxious about it.

Learn more about GI motility testing.

What happens during an anorectal manometry?

Your child will be brought into the room where the test is done. The test will take about 30 to 45 minutes.

If needed, the doctor will give your child medicine to help them sleep.

Your child will lie on their left side for the procedure. The doctor places a small, soft, flexible tube into the rectum. This tube is attached to a computer. The computer measures how well the rectal muscles work. The doctor or nurse slowly inflates and deflates a tiny balloon on the end of the tube. At the same time, the computer records the activity of the nerves and muscles in the rectum. There is no discomfort associated with this. The doctor may ask your child to say when they feel the balloon as it inflates. The doctor may also ask your child to squeeze down on the tube or try to push the tube out of the rectum. Again, this is not uncomfortable.

The doctor will remove the tube when the test is finished.

What happens after an anorectal manometry?

If your child did not receive sedation (medicine to cause sleepiness) for the test, they may go home when the test is over. The nurse will review all instructions with you before you leave. If your child received sedation before the test, talk with your clinician about how soon you will be able to leave the hospital.

The doctor who performed the exam will talk to you about the test results before you go home. Your primary gastroenterology doctor will give you follow-up care instructions.

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