Colonic Manometry


Colonic Manometry

What is a colonic manometry?

A colonic manometry is a test to measure how your child’s muscles and nerves work inside the colon.   This is a three day test that requires an overnight stay in the hospital.  On the first day, your child will have a colonic cleanout (removal of stool) often via a tube placed in your child’s nose.  On the second day a soft, flexible tube (motility catheter) is placed in your child’s colon.  On the third day, information (manometry testing) is collected, the catheter is removed, and your child is sent home.

Why is it necessary?

This test is done to help find the cause of your child’s problems (e.g. constipation, stool accidents, etc.)

How should I prepare my child?

  • You will be given instructions in order to have your child complete a stool clean-out.
  • Your child will be admitted to the hospital following a colonoscopy (at which time the motility catheter is placed), and the manometry study will be completed the following day.
  • We encourage being open and honest about the procedure.  Explain in simple terms why it is needed, and allow your child to bring a favorite toy, blanket, or other object that will stay with him/her during the test. 

What happens during the second day of the test?

  • Under general anesthesia, a colonoscopy is performed to place a motility catheter into the colon.  The tube will be taped to your child’s thigh to secure it in place. 
  • Your child will be admitted to the hospital after the catheter placement.

What happens during the third day of the test?

  • In the early morning, your child will have an x-ray to ensure that the catheter has not moved.
  • Your child will be asked to use the bathroom before the study starts.
  • Following this, the manometry machine will be turned on and connected to the motility catheter placed on the first day.  There is no pain associated with this.  The equipment may take up a lot of space in your child’s room.
  • Your child will sit on a hospital bed throughout the procedure (lasting up to 7 hours) and will be asked not to sleep or get up.  Your child may engage in activities such as watching TV, reading, or playing board games.  Too much movement may alter the results of the test.  A bedpan can be used as needed.
  • Approximately three hours into the study, your child will be given a high calorie breakfast over a 30 minute period.  It is important that your child eats as much as possible during this time, and does not eat before or after the allotted time.
  • Toward the end of the study, your child may be given a medication called Dulcolax through the tube.  Some children experience cramping after this medication is given.

What happens after the test?

The doctor will remove the catheter when the test is finished (this may feel like a bowel movement to your child), and your child will be discharged from the hospital.

How will we be informed of the results?

A Texas Children’s GI doctor will interpret the results and will contact you.  Please allow up to 2 weeks for results to be provided.

When do I call my child’s doctor or nurse?

If you have any further questions about the test, please contact your Texas Children’s Hospital gastroenterology provider on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.