Anal Sphincter Electromyography

Anal sphincter electromyography (EMG) checks how your anal muscle (sphincter) is working. You might need this test if you have a bowel problem.

Your anal sphincter is the muscle valve at the opening of your rectum. The muscles and nerves involved in bowel function can be affected by disease or injury. Anal sphincter EMG checks the electrical activity from the anal sphincter.

Why it is Done

You might have anal sphincter electromyography if you have a bowel control problem or constipation.

What to Expect

Anal sphincter electromyography is an outpatient procedure.

At home before having anal sphincter EMG, you take enemas to clean out your digestive system. Your doctor provides instructions about not eating and drinking before the procedure.

During the procedure, your doctor inserts a small electrode a few inches into your rectum. While you lie on your side, you alternately relax, squeeze and push (as if you were having a bowel movement). The electrical activity in the muscles is recorded on a computer.

This information tells your doctor if your muscles are squeezing and relaxing the way they should. The test takes only about five minutes, and you feel minimal discomfort, if any.

What the Risks Are

Anal sphincter electromyography is a safe procedure with few risks.

Our gastroenterology specialists are experienced in comprehensive diagnosis treatment of colorectal problems, including performing anal sphincter electromyography.

Find an Aurora Health Care GI Specialist