Rectal (PR) Examination

Rectal (PR) examinations are performed for a number of clinical reasons e.g. altered bowel habit, rectal bleeding, urinary symptoms and is a skill surgeons perform on all patients.  It is commonly examined as it is an important skill to know.  For the purpose of examinations you will be provided with a mannequin, however you should pretend it is a real patient and talk to it as such, which will also form part of the marking scheme.

Subject steps

  1. Wash your hands, introduce yourself to the patient and clarify their identity.  Explain what you would like to do and obtain consent.  This is a slightly uncomfortable procedure so you should warn the patient of this. A chaperone is required for this examination.

  2. Positioning of the patient in this procedure is very important. Ask them to lie on their left hand side with their knees drawn up towards their chest, their feet pushed forwards and their anus exposed.

  3. One of the main reasons for performing a rectal examination in males is to assess the prostate gland. This lies anteriorly and should always be felt. You should check the size, consistency and presence of the midline groove.

  4. Allow the patient to dress and thank them. Wash your hands and report your findings to the examiner.