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What is it?
Hemorrhoids are lumps formed by swollen veins in the lower rectum. These painful lumps can be removed by a procedure called hemorrhoid banding (also known as rubber band ligation). This procedure is non-invasive and highly successful at removing internal hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids typically form in three separate sites and only one site is usually treated at a time. Abnormally large hemorrhoids may require more than three treatments to shrink up completely.
What preparation is required?
Prior to your procedure, you will need to have a physical exam first with a doctor to confirm that your hemorrhoids must be removed with rubber band ligation. Usually, it’s recommended that patients try home remedies for hemorrhoids before scheduling a hemorrhoid banding. In many extreme cases however, a hemorrhoid banding will be prescribed for those suffering from Grade 3 or Grade 4 hemorrhoids.
Once it is determined that hemorrhoid banding is necessary to remove the lumps, your doctor will educate you on possible complications and preparations to consider before the procedure. There aren’t many precautions to keep in mind leading up to the procedure. It is recommended to stay away from a diet that causes straining during bowel movements. Stool softeners might be prescribed to reduce the amount of pressure on the veins in your lower rectum. It is also important to inform your doctor of any medications you are prescribed well before the procedure date.
What should you expect?
The procedure from start to finish is fairly short and will not require you to stay for recovery time. Most patients have reported only slight discomfort during and after the procedure.
During this procedure, a tiny rubber band is tied around the base of the hemorrhoids to cut off the blood supply. You should expect the hemorrhoid to shrink and fall off on its own within one to five days. Before and a few days after the hemorrhoids fall off, you may experience some pain or bleeding where the hemorrhoids are tied. When the hemorrhoids and bands fall off, most patients do not even notice them.
What happens after the procedure?
You can leave immediately after the procedure with no rest time. The areas will take around two weeks to fully heal. While the hemorrhoids are banded, it is recommended to refrain from heavy lifting or strenuous activity for at least 3-4 days.
Long-term recurrence rate is very low after hemorrhoid banding. It is not unlikely however, for some patients to see a few hemorrhoids return after five years. You can take preventative measures such as, diet changes, increased physical activity, lessened straining during bowel movements, and keeping the areas clean.
Are there any risks or complications?
There are rarely any complications associated with hemorrhoid banding. However, a small percentage of treated patients have experienced one or more of the following:
- Recurrence of hemorrhoids
- Pain from remaining hemorrhoids
Be sure to ask your doctor to explain all the possible risks and complications of the procedure to you before scheduling your hemorrhoid banding.