What is Proctology?
Proctology is the study of medical disorders associated to the colon, rectum and anus. In more modern medical circles, the field is more commonly referred to as Colorectal Surgery. Accordingly, proctologists, or colorectal surgeons, are medical specialists in the field of proctology.
What Diseases are Diagnosed by Proctologists?
Your proctologist or colorectal surgeon may diagnose a variety of different conditions, but, in general, the scope of proctology is quite focused and limited. Some common disorders include:
- Hemorrhoids—enlarged or inflamed veins near the rectal and anal area of the body, which can sometimes cause bleeding and pain during bowel movements
- Anal Fissures—tears, rips or cracks in anal tissue as a result of hardened stool, overuse of the colorectal area or external causes
- Fistulas—abnormal tissue connection between rectal tissue and anal tissue
- Fecal Incontinence—inability to control bowel movements
- Rectal Prolapse—structural malfunction of rectal tissue that causes rectum to stick out of the anus
- Imperforate Anus—a birth defect characterized by a malformed anus in babies
- Chronic disorders—such as inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis
- Colon Cancer, Rectal Cancer, Anal Cancer
- Anal Injury
- Removal of Foreign Objects from the Colon
What Procedures Performed in Proctology?
Many proctology procedures involve surgery, such as in the case of a colectomy (re-sectioning of the colon), polypectomy (polyp removal), hemorrhoid banding or colostomy (providing an alternative opening for patients to pass stool). In terms of diagnostics, colonoscopy is the most important procedure because it allows doctors to examine the whole colon who signs of defects.
Reviewed 12/12/2011 by David M. Nolan, M.D.
Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, 2011
Currently a Fellow of Gastroenterology, at UCI 2011-2014