At Coast Colorectal, we have a specialist pelvic floor clinic, diagnostic lab and anorectal physiology service. This lab gives us a way of gaining information that can help with diagnosing and managing a range of conditions.
We see patients with colon, anorectal and pelvic floor disorders in this lab. Here, we can work with the latest 3D technology, performing a thorough assessment.
Many of the conditions that we assess here are quite common. From examining a fistula to planning incontinence treatment, this clinic can help us put together an informed treatment plan. Conditions assessed at the lab include:
- Rectal prolapse
- Anal fistulas and fissures
- Defecatory disorders
- Rectal cancer
- Faecal incontinence
To attend our clinic, you’ll need a referral from your GP or specialist. You’ll need to bring the referral to your appointment. With this referral, you’ll be able to claim your attendance for a Medicare rebate.
If you have been referred to the clinic, this is because your treating specialist has asked us to complete an assessment of your condition. After this assessment, it will be possible to make a more comprehensive management plan.
Usually, a visit to the clinic will take between 20 and 30 minutes for a complete assessment. At all times, you will be guided through the process. If, at any stage, you feel uncomfortable, you should let your colorectal surgeon know. There is no need for sedation or anaesthetic, so you can drive yourself home afterwards.
The experience will be of a diagnostic assessment, like attending an x-ray. For this reason, your overall management plan may not be discussed at this appointment. If you’d like to talk about managing your condition, the clinic staff can arrange an additional appointment for you. Just let them know if this is the case for you.
Before your assessment, you can eat and drink normally. However, to make an accurate assessment, the rectum needs to be empty. To ensure this is the case, you’ll be asked to use one microlax enema at least one hour before leaving home. You can purchase this from any pharmacy without a prescription.
There are a few tests that are commonly performed at the clinic. Anal manometry is one of these tests. During this assessment, a short, small flexible tube is inserted into the anus and the surgeon will ask you to do a couple of exercises, such as squeezing around the tube. A small balloon is expanded in the rectum to further assess the rectum and anus.
Another common test is pudendal nerve terminal motor latency. This involves placing a gloved finger in the anus to assess the two nerves that control the sphincter muscles. With this test, discomfort is unlikely, but sometimes patients find themselves a little uncomfortable for the first few seconds.
You might also need anal or rectal ultrasonography. In this assessment, a narrow rigid tube the size of an index finger is inserted into the anus or rectum. This is used to take images of the anal sphincter muscles and surrounding structures.
Our lab is equipped with the newest 3D ultrasound technology. Compared to standard 2D imaging, this technology gives us superior insights, making your assessment more thorough.
A visit to the pelvic floor clinic is often an important step towards assessing and treating your condition. We look forward to assisting you.