Hemorrhoid Ligation Treatment and How It Works

Hemorrhoid ligation is used on milder cases of hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are classified into four different categories based on the severity of the symptoms. Level-one hemorrhoids are characterized by increased size and number of veins in the anal area with blood seen in bowel movements.  In second degree hemorrhoids, part of the lining of the rectum falls out of place causing possible stool leakage, pain, irritation and protruding tissue from the rectum, at this level of severity they can still spontaneously correct themselves. In the third level of hemorrhoids, they also protrude but in this case they require manual reduction. In the fourth level there is protrusion and sometimes the hemorrhoids remain irreducible. Ligation is used on patients with first, second and sometimes third degree level hemorrhoids. There are some cases when those with fourth degree hemorrhoids are treated with band ligation if they are considered unable to undergo surgery.

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During hemorrhoid band ligation, a rubber band is applied to the base of the hemorrhoid in order to cut off blood supply to it. With blood supply cut off, the hemorrhoid will tend to shrink and then fall off within a few days. This procedure can be performed in an outpatient center, as an alternative to undergoing the usual hemorrhoid surgery, known as a hemorrhoidectomy. Usually only a single rubber band treatment is needed in order to relieve the pain and bleeding associated with hemorrhoids. In most cases, the success rate of hemorrhoid ligation is between 60% and 80%.

This treatment has very limited side effects and generally is well tolerated by many patients. Generally the first step in hemorrhoid treatment is the use of creams to control pain, stool softeners, a high fiber diet and a sitz (lower body) bath. If and when these options fail to treat the problem, the option of hemorrhoid ligation is introduced. Before the procedure can be performed, either a colonoscopy or a barium enema is performed to investigate the site of the hemorrhoid. Before performing the procedure, your physician will request that you stop taking any anticoagulants (medications to thin blood) for at least 14 days, to prevent any possible bleeding complications. During the procedure your physician will make sure there are no areas of infection or irritation in order to avoid post-procedural complications.

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As with any treatment, there are some possible risks that you should discuss with your doctor before undergoing hemorrhoid rubber band ligation. The most common complication is pain, which is generally controlled through medications prescribed by your physician. The second most common problems are feelings of vertigo and possible fainting. Another thing to keep your eye on would be bleeding as late as 1-2 weeks after the procedure. This should be brought to the attention of your doctor so that he can help provide a solution and avoid excessive blood loss. Finally, as there is risk for infection, any cases of fever, chills or swelling around the procedure site should be brought to immediate medical attention.

In conclusion, hemorrhoid ligation efficiently treats mild to moderate hemorrhoids. Through a discussion with your doctor you can determine if it’s the right treatment for you!