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What is Hemorrhoid Banding?

Hemorrhoid Banding

Hemorrhoids are a prevalent and uncomfortable medical condition in Canada, especially among people over the age of 40. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in your anus and lower rectum. They can cause pain, itching, bleeding, and other symptoms.

When hemorrhoids become large, they can cause hemorrhoid symptoms such as pain and discomfort. They may also develop into a mass that hangs outside of the anus (external hemorrhoids). A bulging hemorrhoid can be felt when wiping after bowel movements and may bleed when passing stools.

Surgery to remove hemorrhoids (hemorrhoidectomy) can be done at a hemorrhoid clinic like N.A. Hemorrhoids Centre, and works well for many people but isn't suitable for everyone. Surgery may not be an option for some people who have large hemorrhoids or hemorrhoids that come back (recur). It may also not be cost-effective. That's why doctors have developed a less invasive treatment called hemorrhoid banding.

Hemorrhoid Banding

During hemorrhoid banding, a tiny rubber band is placed on the base of the hemorrhoid to cut off its blood supply. Within a few days, the hemorrhoid withers and falls off.

Hemorrhoid banding has been around for more than 50 years. Still, many people aren't familiar with hemorrhoid banding or don't know much about it. In this article, you'll find out what hemorrhoid banding is and how it can help treat hemorrhoids. You'll also see what to expect during treatment and after your hemorrhoids have been treated with hemorrhoid banding.

Rubber band ligation (also known as hemorrhoidal artery ligation) is a hemorrhoid treatment that shrinks hemorrhoids by placing bands around hemorrhoidal tissue. Hemorrhoid banding and other minimally invasive procedures were developed to help patients avoid hemorrhoidectomy (surgery to remove hemorrhoids).

The Procedure

Hemorrhoid banding is a medical procedure done at hemorrhoid clinics in which hemorrhoids are shrunk by placing bands around them. It is performed under local anesthesia in an ambulatory care setting (i.e., without the need for an overnight hospital stay). Banding can be done in conjunction with injection therapy to shrink hemorrhoids before banding or as a stand-alone treatment for non-bleeding hemorrhoids that have reached their maximum size.

Hemorrhoidal banding usually takes between 10-20 minutes, depending on hemorrhoid size and the number of hemorrhoids treated. The procedure is usually performed in an ambulatory care setting (i.e., without the need for an overnight hospital stay) under local anesthesia (numbing medication).

After the procedure, patients usually continue to have hemorrhoid symptoms for two to three days. Drinking extra fluids will help decrease the chance of developing hemorrhoid infection or hemorrhage.

The Effect of Hemorrhoid Banding

The banding procedure typically provides relief from hemorrhoids for six months to five years. The effect may last longer in cases where hemorrhoids are not blood-filled before banding, but there is no guarantee that hemorrhoids will shrink completely or disappear after any length of time.

Hemorrhoid banding is a type of rubber band ligation (RBL). Other procedures called "hemorrhoidal artery ligation" use elastic bands instead of rubber bands.

Hemorrhoid Banding

The Risks

The most severe risk of rubber band ligation is bleeding at or after hemorrhoid banding; this happens in as many as twenty percent (20%) of cases. The chance of severe complications such as uncontrolled hemorrhage or infection with rubber band ligation appears to be small when performed by an experienced colorectal surgeon. The following complications may also occur pain during and after hemorrhoid banding; hematoma formation (a swelling of clotted blood) at the hemorrhoid band site; hemorrhoid recurrence (the hemorrhoids return to their pre-treatment size); infection around the hemorrhoid band sites.

Complications are more common with rubber band ligation than other hemorrhoid procedures, such as injection therapy or infrared coagulation. Hemorrhoidal artery ligation is generally safe and effective. Still, hemorrhoidal banding may not provide lasting results for patients with large hemorrhoids covered by skin, commonly called "external" hemorrhoids.

Patients should discuss these risks with their physicians at a hemorrhoid clinic before deciding to have hemorrhoidal artery ligation or rubber band ligation.

Patient Experiences

Most hemorrhoid banding patients are satisfied with their results, though some report temporary or long-term discomfort. Some patients have pain during bowel movements for a few days to several weeks after hemorrhoid banding; this can be managed with over-the-counter medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Although hemorrhoid recurrence rates are high after rubber band ligation, hemorrhoid banding can be repeated, although hemorrhoids may grow back larger after treatment.

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