Colonic and anorectal motility testing in the high-resolution era

Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2016 Jan;32(1):44-8. doi: 10.1097/MOG.0000000000000229.


Purpose of review: The past few years have seen an increase in the number of research and clinical groups around the world using high-resolution manometry (HRM) to record contractile activity in the anorectum and colon. Yet despite the uptake and growing number of publications, the clinical utility and potential advantages over traditional manometry remain undetermined.

Recent findings: Nearly all of the publications in the field of anorectal and colonic HRM have been published within the last 3 years. These studies have included some data on normal ranges in healthy adults, and abnormalities in patient groups with constipation or fecal incontinence, anal fissure, perineal descent, rectal cancer, and Hirschsprung's disease. Most of the studies have been conducted on adults, with only three published studies in pediatric populations. Very few studies have attempted to show advantages of HRM over traditional manometry

Summary: High-resolution anorectal and colonic manometry provide a more comprehensive characterization of motility patterns and coordinated activity; this may help to improve our understanding of the normal physiology and pathophysiology in these regions. To date, however, no published study has conclusively demonstrated a clinical, diagnostic, or interventional advantage over conventional manometry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anal Canal / pathology*
  • Colon / pathology*
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / diagnosis
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / physiopathology*
  • Gastrointestinal Motility
  • Humans
  • Manometry / instrumentation*
  • Manometry / methods
  • Rectal Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Rectum / pathology*
  • Reproducibility of Results