Hemorrhoids are a very common in the US with over 1 million new cases diagnosed each year. The most common way to remove a bothersome hemorrhoid is through rubber band ligation, also called hemorrhoid banding or hemorrhoid ligation. This procedure allows your physician to place a rubber band around the base of the hemorrhoid, restricting blood flow and causing the hemorrhoid to wilt and fall off within a week or two.
Reasons for Ligation
Hemorrhoids are inflamed and swollen veins located in and around the anus or lower rectum and can cause uncomfortable symptoms including bleeding, itching, pain or discomfort. The goal of hemorrhoid banding is to eliminate these symptoms by cutting off the hemorrhoid’s bloody supply.
Preparation for the Procedure
There is very little preparation required for hemorrhoid banding. Patients do not need to complete a bowel preparation nor are they subject to a lengthy recovery period. Generally patients are back to work that day with minimal discomfort.
What to Expect During the Procedure
Hemorrhoid banding is a quick and simple procedure performed in the physician’s office. Your physician will first examine the rectum using a small device called an anoscope; allowing him or her to see the hemorrhoid. Next, using a specialized instrument, your physician will grab the hemorrhoid, gently pulling it away from the intestinal wall, and roll the rubber band onto the base of the hemorrhoid. The rubber band restricts the supply of blood to the hemorrhoid and within a few days the hemorrhoid will shrivel up and then detach, usually during a normal bowel movement without you even noticing.
The procedure generally takes less than 10 minutes and patients experience very minimal, if any, discomfort. After the procedure you may feel as if you need to have a bowel movement or experience a feeling of fullness in the lower abdomen. To minimize discomfort, our physicians typically limit banding to one or two hemorrhoids at a time. Patients with multiple hemorrhoids may require more than one visit.
Benefits of Rubber Band Ligation for Hemorrhoids
Rubber band ligation is the most commonly used treatment for hemorrhoids. Unlike traditional banding techniques which use metal forceps to grip the hemorrhoid and can cause bleeding and significant discomfort, our physicians perform ligation with the CRH or INX methods that utilizes gentle suction to hold the hemorrhoid while the rubber band is placed.
Risks of the Procedure
Rubber band ligation for hemorrhoids is safe and associated with very low risk. Complications are rare but do include bleeding from the anus, infection in the anal area, pain and swelling at the treatment site. It’s important that you refrain from demanding physical activity immediately following your treatment to reduce the risk of complications.