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High Resolution Anoscopy

What is High Resolution Anoscopy?
High Resolution Anoscopy, or HRA, is a procedure that allows for examination and evaluation of the anal canal. Using a small thin round tube called an anoscope, the anal canal is examined with a high resolution magnifying instrument called a colposcope. Application of a mild acidic liqud onto the anal canal facilitates evaluation of abnormal tissue such as anal dysplasia. If indicated, a biopsy can be obtained. A digital rectal examination is also done at the time of the procedure. The procedure is performed in the office and generally lasts about 15 minutes. It is usually very well tolerated with mild if any discomfort. Significant risks such as bleeding or infection are extremely rare. Note should be taken that HRA is very different from colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy, neither of which can adequately examine the anal canal for the problems being detected by HRA. No bowel prep is needed for this examination.

Who needs a High Resolution Anoscopy?
The procedure is used in the treatment and surveillance of anal dysplasia and the prevention of anal cancer. It is performed on patients with an abnormal anal cytology or anal Pap test. Anal Pap tests are obtained on individuals who are at risk for genital or anal HPV (Human PapillomaVirus) infections, even in the absence of signs or symptoms of infection.

Learn more about abnormal anal pap smear, anal dysplasia and anal cancer.