People visit proctologists for the treatment or cure of problems involving the rectum, anus or intestines, more commonly known as the ‘bowels’; as well as conditions and diseases which affect the pelvis in both men and women. The education and training required to become a proctologist is long and hard, as with other medical specialties; but at the end of the day, in spite of the vulgar and obscene humor which is attached to this profession, it is the proctologist who has the last laugh and walks away with an annual income in the $250,000-$520,000 range!
The work involved in becoming a proctologist is outlined below…
- Obtain a four-year bachelor’s degree in any science discipline, preferably from among the biological sciences;
- Appear for and complete successfully the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT);
- Gain admission into an accredited medical school/college and complete the 4-year degree program, followed by residency training for an additional 2-4 years in the field of general surgery;
- Gain the relevant board certification to practice as a general surgeon; professional certification is administered by the American Board of Surgery (ABS);
- Complete two additional years of residency, this time specializing in proctology, either colorectal surgery or in osteopathic medicine;
- Professional certification for colorectal surgery is provided by the American Board of Colon & Rectal Surgery (ABCRS); certification for osteopathic medicine is managed by the American Osteopathic Board of Proctology (AOBP).
- Proctologists are also required to adhere to continuing education requirements for keeping their certification current and valid.
Role & prospects
- Role: A proctologist diagnoses and treats medical conditions - by surgery or conventional medicine – which occur in the pelvic, rectal, colonic and intestinal systems of humans. These include cancers, hemorrhoids, cysts, inflammatory and anorectic conditions. The diagnosis is made by using instruments and techniques such as endoscopy, ultrasound imaging, colonoscopy, etc.
- Career prospects: The incidence of cancers or other harmful growths in the organ systems mentioned above has increased with the changes in lifestyle, eating habits and stress across the country. Hence, there is a great demand for proctologists and surgeons and the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates an 18-26% increase in demand for specialist positions in medicine and surgery, over the next 5 years.
Follow the guidelines and information provided in this article to become a proctologist.