Rubber band ligation is one of the most common outpatient treatments available for the Minnesotan patients with internal hemorrhoids. It is a better option for patients with prolapsed hemorrhoids. A number of prospective studies have found rubber band ligation to be a simple, safe, and effective method for treating symptomatic second- and third-degree internal hemorrhoids as an office procedure with significant improvement in quality of life. This procedure is almost never appropriate if there is insufficient tissue to be pulled inside the band ligator drum, such as grade 1 or mild grade 2 hemorrhoids, and it should not be done with the most severe (grade 4) hemorrhoids, either.
Rubber band ligation is an office procedure in which the prolapsed hemorrhoid tissue is tied off at its base with rubber bands, cutting off the blood flow to the hemorrhoidal mass. It is contraindicated in the patients using anticoagulants and other anorectal diseases, such as local infection, acute thrombosis and chronic anal fissure.
The process involves a doctor inserting an anoscope into the anus and identifying and grasping the prolapsed hemorrhoid with an instrument to place a rubber band around its base. With the rubber band in place, the hemorrhoid shrinks and recedes, dying off in a few days or a week. The reduced volume of venous tissue with the scar formation prevents hemorrhoid tissue from bulging into the anal canal. The procedure is usually done in a doctor’s office and only takes a couple of minutes. Treatment is limited to one to two hemorrhoids each office visit, and additional areas may be treated at two week intervals.
What to expect after the rubber band ligation treatment:
After the banding procedure, most patients don’t feel much discomfort; some may feel tightness and mild pain or feel as if you need to have bowel movement. People respond differently to this procedure. Most patients are able to return to regular activities (but avoid heavy lifting) almost immediately. Others may need a few hours or a day of rest. If you feel some pain after banding, you may use Tylenol or Ibuprofen as needed and take a lot of Sitz baths for 15-30 minutes at a time to relieve discomfort.
Some patients may have slight rectal bleeding after a week, when the rubber band falls off. The bleeding usually stops by itself; however, if you notice significant rectal bleeding, then you should call your doctor’s office. It is also very important to make sure that your stool is soft by taking stool softeners containing fiber and drink more fluids.