Health Library
Colonic Manometry

What is Colonic Manometry?

The purpose of colonic manometry is to determine how well your child's colon works. The colon is also known as the large intestine. This is the site where stool is formed, stored and then passed out.

Manometry is the measurement of pressure or contractions in the large intestine.

Before the Test

  • If your child is old enough, explain to your child how the test is done at a time that you feel is best. The nurse will help you with this.
  • It may be helpful for your child to bring a favorite toy or game. This will make your child more comfortable during the test.
Colonic Manometry
  • Some medications may interfere with this test. You may be asked to stop certain medications up to 72 hours before the test.
  • Reassure your child that you will be with them during the entire test.
  • Inpatient bowel cleanout will be done to cleanse the colon prior to placement of the manometry catheter.
  • Your child will be admitted to the hospital the day before the catheter is placed for bowel cleanout.
  • See the bowel cleanout handout for more details.

During the Test

  • A pediatric anesthesiologist will administer anesthesia, a gas that helps your child sleep during the test.
  • Your child will have an intravenous (IV) line to keep them hydrated.
  • The doctor will place the tube that will be used for this test. The tube will go through the rectum and into the colon. The placement of this tube will be done using a colonoscope. A colonoscope is a hose-like tube with a light and camera at the end used to look at the colon. The colonoscope will then be taken out and the tube will be left inside the colon. It will extend from the colon, out through the rectum, and secured in place with tape to your child's inner thigh.
  • Your child will go to the recovery room or the wake-up room to wake up. Your child will then be taken to a room for the remainder of the test.
  • Your child will need to remain in bed for the remainder of that day and part of the next.
  • Your child must use a bedpan, urinal or diaper instead of going to the restroom.
  • Your child will not be allowed to eat or drink anything for the rest of the day and part of the next day. The intravenous (IV) fluids will keep your child hydrated.
  • For the rest of the evening, your child will be free to do any activities that they can do in bed. The actual test will begin early the next morning.
A portable manometry cart and computer are used during a colonic manometry, a test to see how well your child's colon works.
  • The tube will be connected to a Portable manometry cart. This in turn is connected to a computer. Your doctor views this information after testing is complete.
  • Your child will be given a meal and medication as part of the test. Please do not allow your child to eat or drink until instructed to do so by the manometry nurse.
  • The test will run for about six hours.

What will my child feel during the test?

  • This test does not cause pain, but sometimes the child may have some cramping when medicines are given to stimulate the colon during the test.
  • Sometimes a small amount of water may leak from your child's bottom during the test.
  • When the test is complete, we remove the tape holding the tube in place and then remove the tube. Tape removal may be uncomfortable.
  • Removing the tube is not painful.

After the Test

  • Your child may return to a normal diet, play and other normal activities.
  • Your child's doctor will discuss the results of the test with you in one to two weeks.

Last Updated 03/2023

Reviewed By Jessica Bell, RNIII
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