Colonic Manometry

What is a colonic manometry test?

Colonic manometry is a test to measure the strength of the colon’s movements. It is done to help find the cause of motility problems, such as constipation, stool accidents or other bowel problems.

How do we prepare for the colonic manometry test?

Your child’s colon will need to be empty to have the test. This means your child will need to be on a clear liquid diet for about 48 hours before the test. Depending on the underlying problem, your child may be admitted to the hospital a day or two before the test to clean out the colon. Sometimes this is done at home. Your child’s doctor will give you instructions.

What happens during a colonic manometry test?

Before the test, your child will get anesthesia to go to sleep. Then the doctor will place a small, flexible tube (called a catheter) through the rectum and into the colon. The tube will be left inside the colon and extend out through your child’s rectum and held with tape against the upper leg. Once this is done, your child will be brought to another room to wake up.

When your child wakes up, the end of the tube will be connected to a computer on a portable cart. The computer will measure and record how well the colon works during the test. Once the tube is connected, your child will not be able to get out of bed and will have to use a bedpan or urinal during the rest of the test.

Your child will stay connected to the computer for about six hours. During this time, they will be given medication and a special meal to measure how the colon works in response to each. Some children may have cramping or bowel movements during this time of the test. They can use a bedpan while the tube is in place.

Once the test is done, a technologist or doctor will remove the tube. The doctor will give you any follow-up care instructions for your child. You will get results of the test once they are interpreted by the gastroenterologist.

Our expertise in colonic manometry

At Boston Children’s Motility and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders Center, we provide the most advanced, high-resolution manometry testing possible. This provides our doctors with detailed information about your child’s condition.