Proctoscopy | Tampa General Hospital


Proctoscopy is a procedure used to diagnose problems with your rectum and anus. The rectum is the end of your large intestine (colon) and anus is the opening of the rectum. A proctoscopy (also called rigid sigmoidoscopy) is a procedure to examine the inside of the rectum and the anus. A hollow tube called a proctoscope is the device used to perform this procedure. 

Why Proctoscopy Is Performed 

Proctoscopy can: 

  • Diagnose cancer or another disease in your rectum or anus 
  • Find the source of bleeding from the rectum 
  • Diagnose hemorrhoids 
  • Remove a sample of tissue for testing (biopsy) 
  • Find and remove polyps and other abnormal growths 
  • Monitor colon or rectal cancer after surgery or other treatments 

Procedure Details 

First, a doctor will do a digital exam, which involves inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to check for any blockages or painful areas. The doctor will then insert the proctoscope. Air will also be pushed into the colon to help doctors view the area. A biopsy may also be taken at this point.  

What to Expect 

Generally, there is little risk associated with proctoscopy. You may have some discomfort in your rectum and anus right after the procedure. It is also possible to experience rectal bleeding for a few days afterward—this is normal. There is also the risk of developing an infection, but this is rare. 


While a proctoscopy may be somewhat unpleasant or uncomfortable, it can often be necessary to diagnose problems or conditions related to the intestine and anus. Tampa General Hospital has a team of specialists who are highly skilled at treating conditions affecting the gastrointestinal tract, such as colorectal cancer. We can expertly and carefully perform proctoscopy procedures as well as other diagnostic tests.