If you are wondering what the right career path is for you, and unsure what roles are out there, we can help. We offer comprehensive guides of various job occupations.
Here, we’re going to talk about proctologists, what they are, what they do in their day to day roles, how much they earn, and how you can become a proctologist.
If you are interested in working within medicine, then this specialist role could be for you. So, with that in mind, what exactly is a proctologist?
What Is A Proctologist?
A Proctologist is a doctor who specializes in the care of rectal and colon issues. They may focus on solving conditions that impact the lower digestive tract. They can also be referred to as colorectal surgeons, along with proctologists.
Proctologists are mainly surgeons, who will diagnose and treat ailments of the anus, gastrointestinal tract, and rectum.
These conditions could be infections or abscesses in these areas, colon and rectal cancer, anal skin tags, fissures, hemorrhoids, IBS, IBS and rectal prolapse.
A proctologist can also treat sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea, genital herpes, chlamydia, and more.
What Does A Proctologist Do?
A proctologist is in charge of treating patients with ailments of the rectum, anus, and gastrointestinal tract. They will perform a range of diagnostic tests, and can provide surgical procedures to care for patients.
The most common procedures that proctologists may perform are endoscopies and colonoscopies. These can help identify abnormalities or issues within the anus and rectum, and the entire colon can be examined and screened for cancer.
Proctologists may also perform physical and digital rectal exams of the prostate and lower rectum.
To help diagnose colorectal cancers, they can use endorectal ultrasounds, or perform a proctoscopy, where the anus and rectum is examined, and tissue is removed for biopsy.
Proctologists are trained surgeons, so they can perform a range of surgical procedures including robotic surgery, but they can also provide non surgical treatments for many disorders in this area of the body.
Proctologists will work in most environments that require medical care. For instance, they may work in hospitals, clinics, practices, and will work with gastroenterologists closely.
A day in the life of a proctologist may include seeing a variety of patients, from ones suffering from IBS and IBD to those who need screening for rectal cancer or abdominal problems.
Some may require surgery, whereas others can have less invasive treatments prescribed by the proctologist.
Not only does a proctologist have to be very highly trained, but they also have to be able to speak with and comfort patients.
Issues related to the anus, rectum and gastrointestinal tract can be awkward and sensitive for many patients to discuss, so a proctologist needs to be understanding and deal with these situations with delicacy and without judgment.
What Is The Difference Between A Gastroenterologist And A Proctologist?
While proctologists will work closely with gastroenterologists, they are not the same job role.
The main difference is that gastroenterologists can perform colonoscopies, and work in similar specialties, but they are not permitted to perform surgeries, as they do not have the training.
In comparison, proctologists receive surgical training, and are specialists in performing surgeries. Gastroenterologists will provide complete care for any disorder or disease that affects the digestive system.
So, gastroenterologists may focus on the management and care of a patient’s condition, whereas proctologists can diagnose and treat through the use of surgery and other medical procedures.
How Much Do Proctologists Earn?
The salaries for proctologists range depending on many factors, such as the workplace, experience level, education, additional skills, and more. The average proctologist in the US makes around $290,667 per year according to Comparably.
Proctologists or colorectal surgeons can make around $340,693 per year according to Salary.com, with the lowest earners taking home around $240,224, and the highest earners taking home around $404,348 per year.
The highest paying states in the US for proctologists are California and Pennsylvania.
How To Become A Proctologist?
Becoming a proctologist is not simple. You will require many years of training and education, including 4 years of university, completing a bachelor’s degree, and 4 years of medical school.
You will also need to undergo a 5 year training program in surgery, and additional training to specialize in rectal and colon surgery.
Then, you will need to be certified through the Board Of Colon And Rectal Surgery after completing oral and written examinations. Being a proctologist requires ongoing training in the field of proctology, and you will need to be licensed in your state in order to practice.
To become certified, you will need to have graduated from an accredited medical school, completed surgical training from an accredited residency, undergone colon and rectal surgical training from an accredited program, and have had sufficient training in the diagnosis, treatment and surgical management of a range of diseases that afflict the colon, anus, and rectum.
Then, you can undergo the examinations to become certified, but these certifications only last 10 years, so you will need to have ongoing training to ensure that you are up to date with new requirements and regulations.
To summarize, a proctologist is someone who is a trained surgeon, who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of anal, rectum, colon and gastrointestinal issues. Proctologists will work in a range of medical workplaces, such as hospitals, private practices and more.
They are able to perform surgery to treat cancers, diseases and ailments in this area of the body, and will need to go through extensive training and certification in order to practice.
If you liked this article, you might enjoy our post, ‘What Is A Hospitalist?‘.