Hemorrhoids can be an embarrassing nuisance for a busy adult in Minnesota, and any would like to know what the best treatment is. While many people in Minneapolis and St Paul areas associate hemorrhoids with painful surgery, only a small percentage of patients actually require surgery. There are four non-surgical methods of treating hemorrhoids: sclerosing injection, electric desiccation, infrared coagulation, and rubber band ligation. This blog will go over the pros and cons of each one.
Sclerosing injection is a procedure used to reduce or remove abnormal veins, such as varicose veins. It can also be used for treating hemorrhoids. Essentially, the injection of sclerosing agents such as 5% phenol in almond oil (PAO) or Aluminum potassium sulfate and tannic acid (ALTA) induces inflammation in the area, and causes the walls of the vein to harden and thicken, reducing the flow of blood or completely eliminating it with a small enough vein. The procedure takes about 5-10 minutes, and it is tolerable with mild discomfort and pain. It takes about 6 weeks for the injections to take full effect. The treatment usually lasts up to about 6 months. Repeat treatments are usually necessary. The complications included pyrexia, low blood pressure, perineal pain, rectal ulcers and infection. However, this treatment is no longer often used in the US because it is only really effective for very small and early hemorrhoids and relatively high complication of infection. This treatment is not provided at Procedure Clinic in lieu of other, more effective methods.
Bipolar diathermy is the method of electric desiccation involves using high frequency electrical currents to dehydrate hemorrhoid tissue. The hemorrhoid subsequently dries, shrinks, and sloughs off. Larger hemorrhoids require more current. This method is not to be used in advanced cases, or if the patient has complications. The procedure itself also takes a considerable amount of time, which for many people is not convenient, especially when quicker methods are available. This procedure is not done at Procedure Clinic.
Infrared coagulation (IRC) is the most commonly used procedure of treating hemorrhoids in the US, so is our clinic. It is often used for small to medium sized internal hemorrhoids. In this procedure, an intense infrared light heats the hemorrhoid, creating scar tissue. The scar tissue blocks blood supply to the hemorrhoid, which shrinks and dies, leaving a scar that keep the veins from bulging into the anal canal. The procedure can be done every 10-14 days. This treatment works best for early-stage hemorrhoids, and has the advantage of being quick, from procedure to recovery time. Most people can go to work right away. The effectiveness of IRC is quite high. As we know, regardless of treatment methods, hemorrhoid is more prone to return if the patients don’t follow the instructions of prevention. The good news is that the IRC procedure can be repeated easily.
Rubber band ligation involves tying off the hemorrhoid tissue with a rubber band, mechanically cutting off blood supply to the tissue. It is best for more advanced hemorrhoids , such as grade 2 or 3 hemorrhoids- it is not appropriate for early or very late stage hemorrhoids (which is the may require surgery). The recovery time is longer compared to infrared coagulation, and patients report more pain after the procedure. However, ligation is generally more effective and hemorrhoids are less likely to return for this method. The procedure, like infrared coagulation, is usually limited to once every two weeks.
Procedure Clinic uses infrared coagulation and rubber band ligation to cover a wide range of hemorrhoids at different stages. Dr. Shu also performs the hemorrhoidectomy to treat the most advanced hemorrhoids. The best method will vary from person to person, and depends on various factors. By scheduling an appointment, you could find out which is the best method for you.