External hemorrhoids occur outside the anal verge. Thrombosed external hemorrhoids occur if varicose veins rupture and blood clots develop. It is often accompanied by swelling with a bluish-purplish discoloration and severe incapacitating pain.
The symptoms may improve in some patients with conservative nonsurgical treatment – the anal care I coined includes stool softeners, increased dietary fiber, increased fluid intake, warm Sitz baths, and analgesia. For most patients, surgical excision is often more effective and efficient in treating thrombosed external hemorrhoids. Surgical excision is an office-based procedure performed under local anesthesia. This safe office procedure offers low complication and recurrence rates and high levels of patient satisfaction.
After cleaning the anal area with an antiseptic, lidocaine with epinephrine is locally injected in the surgical area. The thrombosed hemorrhoid is unroofed by making an elliptical incision in the hemorrhoid, then the blood clots are removed, and the procedure is finished for a simple case. Simply draining the clot usually relieves the pain immediately, but it may not work well if multiple thromboses exist as it can also lead to recurrence, so it is better for patients with multiple thromboses to completely excise the thrombosed hemorrhoids. The external hemorrhoidectomy may be performed, then the hemorrhoidal tissue with blood clots is removed together, and the bleeding in the wound is stopped with a cautery. The wound in the anal area is covered with sterile gauze.
The patient will be instructed to do anal care measures, including warm Sitz baths three times a day for 15-30 minutes at a time. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen should be used for pain control. The patient should remain well hydrated and take a stool softener to keep stool soft.
Common complications of thrombosed external hemorrhoid excision include pain, bleeding, infection and delayed healing. A perianal skin tag could develop in some patients. Stricture and incontinence are extremely rare complications.