Many doctors that choose to become a proctologist or a proctologic surgeon have a great sense of humor because early on in their training, they learn that a great sense of humor in this specialty is essential to make their patients feel comfortable during conversations about their most uncomfortable problems.
Although a famous Seinfeld episode featured a risqué license plate to poke fun at our field, the fact remains that many people don’t quite know how to describe proctologic problems in mixed company — or where to search for good answers. Phrases like “butt pain” are as heavily trafficked as “rectal pain,” which is why those of us who live and work in the (ahem) trenches have to be ready for all manner of colorful descriptions.
So what is a proctologist? A proctologist is a surgeon that has completed a residency focused entirely on Proctology (Proctologic Surgery). Proctologists are specialized surgeons with expertise in treating a wide range of anal and rectal problems including diseases of the lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract, both surgically and non-surgically. Proctologic surgeons are also highly trained in performing a procedure called a colonoscopy to evaluate the colon (large intestine) as well as the last portion of the small intestine called the ileum.
Proctologists are not colorectal surgeons or gastroenterologists. Colorectal surgeons spend five years training in general surgery first with a one-year fellowship in colon and rectal surgery. Gastroenterologists spend three years training in internal medicine followed by a three-year fellowship in gastroenterology. Gastroenterologists perform endoscopies of both the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract, however, gastroenterologists are not surgeons and do not perform surgeries such as hemorrhoidectomy for hemorrhoids, sphincterotomy for anal fissures, excision of anal skin tags, fistulectomy for anal fistulas, etc. Only proctologists are trained to diagnose and treat these conditions of the lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract both surgically and non-surgically.
If you have anal or rectal pain, don’t procrastinate. Contact the Los Angeles and Orange County Proctology Institute and make an appointment to be seen in one of our locations in Beverly Hills, Newport Beach or Huntington Beach today.