Digital rectal examination: indications and technique

Christopher S Pokorny
Med J Aust 2017; 207 (4): . || doi: 10.5694/mja17.00373
Published online: 21 August 2017

Digital rectal examination (DRE) is an important component of the physical examination. It is essential when someone presents with rectal bleeding, acute abdominopelvic pain (to check for pelvic peritoneal irritation) or other symptoms suggestive of anorectal or prostatic pathology (Box 1). Indeed, in days gone by, some physicians lived by the maxim: “if you don’t put your finger in, you put your foot in it” (attributed to Hamilton Bailey, English surgeon, 1894–1961).

  • South Western Sydney Medical School, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, NSW


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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