What Are the Different Types of Manometry?

Erin J. Hill

There are three main types of manometry: esophageal, anorectal, and rhinomanometry. Each one is used to measure the function of a specific part of the body. These tests are used during the diagnosis or certain medical conditions in both children and adults.

In an anorectal manometry a tube is inserted into the rectum, and a liquid is fed through it to measure contractions of the rectal sphincter and colon.
In an anorectal manometry a tube is inserted into the rectum, and a liquid is fed through it to measure contractions of the rectal sphincter and colon.

An esophageal manometry involves the use of a long tube which is inserted through the nasal cavities and down into the stomach. Special sensors are on various portions of this tube, and they are used to measure the effectiveness of esophageal contractions from the throat to the stomach. This is beneficial when diagnosing or finding a cause of conditions like acid reflux disease. Patients are given a mild local anesthesia to prevent any pain from occurring, although mild discomfort is common. They are also asked to drink a small amount of water or another liquid in order to gauge how well the esophagus is functioning.

Esophageal manometry may be used to determine if acid reflux has names the lining of the throat.
Esophageal manometry may be used to determine if acid reflux has names the lining of the throat.

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The sensors on the tube are connected to a computer; the readings from each sensor are read by the computer, and a diagnostic reading is calculated. Although not the only method in diagnosing the health of the esophagus, monometry is useful in determining the cause of existing symptoms in some patients.

An anorectal manometry is similar in practice to an esophageal one. In this case, a tube is inserted into the rectum and a liquid is fed through it to measure contractions of the rectal sphincter and colon. The tube is generally long enough to reach far into the colon, in order to measure the muscular strength of all muscles required for fecal compaction and elimination. Sensors are present just as in an esophageal manometry, and results are deciphered in much the same way.

The use of an anorectal manometry is more common in children than adults. This is because certain conditions affecting the rectal and colonic sphincter muscles most often occur in young children and are corrected during this time. This does not mean that a manometry cannot be beneficial in adults, as there are certain conditions and injuries which may require it.

A rhinomanometry is another form of test which is performed to determine the airflow of the nasal cavities. It is done by placing a probe on the end of the nostril, held in place by tape. Patients wear a mask over their faces during the test, and breathe in through their noses for several minutes. Sometimes a sensor is put in place toward the back of the nasal cavity and air flow is monitored this way. As with the previous two tests, the probe or sensor inputs data into a computer for reading.

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