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Rectal Exam

 

The digital rectal examination (DRE, Latin palpatio per anum or PPA) is a relatively simple procedure. The patient undresses, then is placed in a position where the anus is accessible (lying on the side, squatting on the examination table, bent over the examination table, or lying down with feet in stirrups).

If the patient is lying on their side, the physician will usually have them bring one or both legs up to their chest. If the patient bends over the examination table, the physician will have them place their elbows on the table and squat down slightly. If the patient uses the supine position, the physician will ask the patient to slide down to the end of the examination table until their buttocks are positioned just beyond the end. The patient then places their feet in the stirrups.

The physician spreads the buttocks apart and will usually examine the external area (anus and perinium) for any abnormalities such as hemorrhoids, lumps, or rashes. Then, as the patient relaxes, the physician slips a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum through the anus and palpates the insides for approximately sixty seconds.

The doctor gives Mrs. Wilson a digital rectal exam.

Click to watch a demonstration.

    
       

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