Center for Digestive Diseases

UNM Hospitals Center
for Digestive Diseases

1001 Martin Luther King Ave. NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106

(505)272-2530 or

UNMH: (505)272-6839
CDD: (505)925-7849

Anorectal Manometry

What is anorectal manometry?

Anorectal manometry is an outpatient procedure that examines the muscular function of your rectum and anus.  A thin tube with pressure sensors is inserted into the rectum in order to measure pressures of the anal sphincter muscles, the sensation of the rectum and the reflexes needed for defecation.

Why is anorectal manometry performed?

Anorectal manometry is a test performed to evaluate patients with constipation or fecal incontinence. 

What preparation is required?

Your doctor recommends you administer 1 or 2 Fleet® enema (available over-the-counter) two hours before your procedure.  You will not receive sedation during your procedure. You will not need to undergo a bowel cleansing preparation for anorectal manometry. You should not eat anything during the two hours prior to the procedure. If you have any questions about the preparation, please call our endoscopy center at 505-925-6000.

Patient Room

Procedure Preparation Instructions

Can I take my current medications?

Most medications can be continued as usual. Tell your doctor about your medications and your allergies.  If there are any medications that you are not sure about taking, please consult your doctor beforehand or call our endoscopy center at 505-925-6000.

What happens during anorectal manometry?

You will change into a hospital gown and lie on your left side. A nurse will insert a small, flexible tube with pressure sensors and a balloon at the end into the rectum. During the test, the balloon will be inflated in the rectum to assess the reflex pathways. The nurse will ask you to squeeze, relax, and push at various times. The anal sphincter muscle pressures are measured during these maneuvers. To squeeze, the patient tightens the sphincter muscles as if trying to prevent anything from coming out. To push or bear down, the patient strains down as if trying to have a bowel movement. The procedure itself usually takes approximately 30 minutes, although you should plan to be at our endoscopy center for approximately one hour. This will include the registration, preparation and procedure.

What happens after anorectal manometry?

You will be able to drive yourself home after anorectal manometry. The measurements recorded by the computer will be carefully analyzed by your doctor.  It may take up to two weeks for your doctor to review and interpret the information and contact you with results.

What are possible complications of anorectal manometry?

Anorectal manometry is a safe procedure and complications are rare.  Possible complications are rare and include perforation or tear of the colon or bleeding.  If perforation occurs your doctor will recommend hospitalization, antibiotics and possibly surgery.  Bleeding usually stops on its own or can be controlled during the colonoscopy.  Equipment failure is a remote possibility.

The procedure is unlikely to cause pain.

Dedicated Specialist in this procedure:

Dr. Martin Kistin (Director)