Consensus document: Advances in the evaluation of anorectal function

Apr 20, 2018

This document was originally published in Nature Reviews: Gastroenterology & Hepatology on 11 April 2018 and can be viewed here. 


Faecal incontinence and evacuation disorders are common, impair quality of life and incur substantial economic costs worldwide. Symptoms alone are poor predictors – diagnostic tests of anorectal function could facilitate patient management in those cases that are refractory to conservative therapies. In the past decade, several major technological advances have improved the understanding of anorectal structure, coordination and sensorimotor function.

This Consensus Statement provides the reader with an appraisal of the current indications, study performance characteristics, clinical utility, strengths and limitations of the most widely available tests of anorectal structure (ultrasonography and MRI) and function (anorectal manometry, neurophysiological investigations, rectal distension techniques and tests of evacuation, including defecography). Additionally, this article provides our consensus on the clinical relevance of these tests.