Band ligation

November 12, 2012

Band ligation

If you suffer with haemorrhoids (or piles) then your medical practitioner may have suggested that you undergo rubber band ligation – a procedure whereby the haemorrhoid is securely fastened, at its base, by rubber bands – this prevents blood flow to the haemorrhoid. This is a relatively simple procedure and, if only one or two rubber band ligations are going to be applied, then it can be done in the doctor’s office. If however all of the haemorrhoids are to be treated then the patient will need to be admitted to hospital. This procedure is only suitable if there is enough tissue for the band to fasten around and is only used on internal haemorrhoids. If after several treatments there is no real improvement in the situation your medical practitioner may recommend surgery.

Once the patient is prepared the doctor will begin the rubber band ligation procedure by inserting an anoscope into the anus – this will allow him or her to see clearly what needs to be done. The haemorrhoid is firmly taken hold of and a rubber band is fastened around its’ base – the haemorrhoid will then shrink and die due to the lack of blood to the area and, after a week or so, will simply fall off. The resulting scar tissue will restrain nearby veins to prevent them bulging into the anal canal.

If the bands feel tight or very painful your medical practitioner may well numb the banded haemorrhoids with an injection. Once the rubber band ligation procedure has been completed patients have reported some pain, a feeling of fullness in the lower abdomen and also feeling as if ones bowels need to be emptied. If necessary remaining haemorrhoids may be treated within 4 to 6 weeks depending on how recovery is going. As with any procedure patients often respond differently – some may need several days rest others may be able to continue with their normal activities whilst being careful to avoid any heavy lifting.

Post operative patients will probably experience pain for up to 48 hours – this is easily relieved with painkillers and it may also be helpful to sit in a warm, salty, shallow bath.

  • Prior to surgery and for several days afterwards it is important to stop taking aspirin or any other drugs which may cause blood thinning.

  • Slight bleeding may occur when the haemorrhoid falls off – usually about a week after the rubber band ligation has been carried out.

  • Drink plenty of fluids and take stool softeners to ensure problem free bowel movements.

Side effects are very rare but if they occur may include -

  • Urinary retention

  • Infection or bleeding in the anal area

  • Severe pain which does not respond to pain relief

Rubber band ligation has a high success rate with fewer patients needing further treatments compared to those who have undergone a different procedure for their haemorrhoids. It is generally agreed that despite the pain involved in rubber band ligation, which may be off putting for some patients, it is the most effective procedure and is therefore highly recommended by health care professionals for the treatment of haemorrhoids.

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