Pediatric Rectal Suction Biopsy


What is a rectal suction?

A rectal suction biopsy is a test done for children with severe or long term constipation (difficulty passing stools). 

Expanded overview

A special instrument is placed in the child’s rectum by the doctor to obtain pieces of the lining of the rectum for inspection. Two good specimens are needed for the study. Sometimes it takes more than two times to get enough samples. This is a short test, lasting 5-10 minutes, causing very little discomfort.

The test allows the doctor to take a small sample of tissue (biopsy) from the rectum (the last part of the large intestine). The pathologist will then check to see if there are nerve (ganglion) cells in the sample. Results are usually available in about a week. If the biopsy shows that there are no nerve cells this mean that your child probably has a condition called Hirschsprung's disease.

How do I prepare my child for a rectal suction biopsy?

  • No preparation is required unless your child is a toddler or older, then an enema may be ordered before the test.
  • Please bring an extra diaper for babies and toddlers.
  • Please do not use any diaper cream, like Desitin or A & D ointment, on your child’s bottom before the test. If needed, you can apply it when the test is finished. 

What should we expect after the rectal suction biopsy?

You may see some blood after the procedure and with the first bowel movement. Call the physician if you see blood clots, blood that is greater than the amount of one teaspoon at a time, or ongoing bleeding. 


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