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Tunis Med. 2017 May;95(5):365-369.

Observance of the practice of digital rectal examination. Survey of general practitioners in East-central Tunisia.



Digital rectal examination (DRE) is a simple gesture, used for diagnosis of several diseases. However, some general practitioners (GPs) are practicing it less and less often.


To estimate the rate of unrealized DRE and to analyze the factors preventing threir achievement.


This is a prospective observational study conducted among 105 GPs practicing in Sousse. We used a pre-established pre-tested and self-administered questionnaire.


We identified 551 DRE that were indicated but unrealized. There was a significant influence between the non-realization of DRE on the one hand, and on the other hand: the lack of experience; the closeness of the specialist; the lack of training and the lack of conviction of the importance of this examination. Embarrassment during the realization of the DRE was felt in 69.3% of cases. Factors associated with this embarrassment were: female practitioner; the young age of the practitioner; the rural practice and the nature of internship placements.


Although it is a simple and inexpensive gesture, the DRE remains neglected by many physicians. Several factors appear to influence the achievement of the DRE. Ongoing continuing medical education seems necessary, especially as we found a lack of belief in the importance of this examination.


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