After your child has had a rectal biopsy

This page explains about what to expect after your child has had a rectal biopsy at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

It is quite normal for your child to feel some discomfort for the first 48 hours after his or her rectal biopsy. Usually paracetamol will be enough to relieve any pain, but if your child needs stronger medication, we will give you some before you go home.

If, when you get home, you feel that your child needs more powerful pain relief, you should call your family doctor (GP). Keep the discharge letter from GOSH by the telephone in case your family doctor needs some details about the rectal biopsy. You can also telephone the ward for over-the-telephone advice.

Always follow the instructions on the pain relief bottle or packet and never give your child more than the recommended dose.

Is there anything else I can do to make my child feel better?

As well as giving pain relief medicines, distracting your child by playing games, watching TV or reading together can help to keep your child’s mind off the pain.

My child does not want to eat. Should I be worried?

After the anaesthetic, your child may feel sick for 24 hours. You should encourage your child to drink but do not force him or her to do so. As long as your child is drinking, it does not matter if he or she does not feel like eating for the first couple of days.

Are there any activities my child should avoid?

Your child may be tired and a little clumsy for 24 hours after the operation, so do not let him or her do anything that might lead to a fall. 

You should keep your child away from school or nursery for two days until he or she has recovered from the anaesthetic.

When should I contact the hospital or my family doctor (GP)?

  • If your child is in a lot of pain and pain relief medicine does not seem to help.
  • If your child is not drinking any fluids after the first day back home.
  • If there is a heavy discharge or bleeding from your child’s rectum after the first 24 hours.

We will call you at home to check that your child is making a good recovery. Before you leave Woodpecker, please tell the nurse when would be the best time to call you.

Last reviewed by Great Ormond Street Hospital: February 2014

Compiled by: 
The Island Day Unit in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group.
Last review date: 
February 2014


Please note this is a generic GOSH information sheet. If you have specific questions about how this relates to your child, please ask your doctor. Please note this information may not necessarily reflect treatment at other hospitals.