Minimally Invasive Hemorrhoid Treatment
Hemorrhoids are a very common condition in which the veins in the anus become swollen. Thankfully, this swelling is not dangerous, but it can cause many frightening, embarrassing and uncomfortable symptoms. Hemorrhoids can occur internally or externally. Rubber band ligation — also known as “hemorrhoid banding” — is one of several options available for the treatment of internal hemorrhoids.
During the hemorrhoid banding procedure, a tool called a ligator is inserted into the anal canal and used to grasp onto the hemorrhoid. This tool may use a small set of forceps to grasp the hemorrhoid, or it may use suction to gently extend it. A small rubber band is then released from the device to wrap around the base of the hemorrhoid. Within a week or two of the procedure, the hemorrhoid will fall away on its own. A scar is left behind, which helps prevent a new hemorrhoid from developing.
What to Expect
Hemorrhoid banding is a quick, nonsurgical procedure and no preparation is required on the part of the patient beforehand. Patients can expect to first have the diagnosis of a hemorrhoid confirmed. The procedure may then be performed on the same day or at a later appointment. Banding is an outpatient procedure, meaning that patients can expect to return home on the same day. Some bleeding and discomfort are normal after the hemorrhoid banding procedure. Multiple appointments may be required for patients with several hemorrhoids, as doctors typically limit the banding procedure to one or two hemorrhoids at a time. This limitation minimizes discomfort and bleeding. Any lingering pain is usually manageable with over-the-counter pain medications. Hemorrhoid banding is considered a very safe procedure with little to no serious complications. Infections or blood clots are possible, but these complications are rare.
Reasons for Hemorrhoid Banding
Hemorrhoids are often treatable at home with over-the-counter pain medications and topical creams. Lifestyle changes such as increasing dietary fiber and maintaining good hygiene may also be helpful. For some people, these home remedies provide sufficient relief and no further treatment is required. Good candidates for hemorrhoid banding are those with internal hemorrhoids who have not found sufficient relief from these remedies. Such patients may suffer from various combinations of intense itching, pain and bleeding. This treatment may also be appropriate for patients with hemorrhoids that contain blood clots, and for prolapsed hemorrhoids — those that protrude out through the anus, but begin internally.
Hemorrhoid banding is the simplest and most widely used treatment for internal hemorrhoids. It also has a much shorter recovery time than surgical options. Compared to other treatment options, patients who undergo hemorrhoid banding are less likely to see their hemorrhoids return in the future.