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Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 May;15(5):309-323. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2018.27. Epub 2018 Apr 11.

Expert consensus document: Advances in the evaluation of anorectal function.

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National Bowel Research Centre, Blizard Institute, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK.
Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo College of Medicine, Rochester, MN, USA.
Exploration Fonctionnelle Digestive, Hospital Edouard Herriot, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Lyon I University and Inserm 1032 LabTAU, Lyon, France.
Laboratorio de Fisiología Digestiva y Motilidad Gastrointestinal, Instituto de Investigaciones Médico Biológicas, Universidad Veracruzana, Veracruz, México.
Division of Gastroenterology, Royal North Shore Hospital, and University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
Abdominal Center: Gastroenterology, St. Claraspital, Basel, Switzerland.
Clinic for Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Augusta University, Augusta, GA, USA.


Faecal incontinence and evacuation disorders are common, impair quality of life and incur substantial economic costs worldwide. As symptoms alone are poor predictors of underlying pathophysiology and aetiology, 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 our 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.

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