Haemorrhoids: is banding the treatment for you?

Written by: Mr Justin Davies
Edited by: Emma McLeod

Haemorrhoid banding is one of several methods used to treat haemorrhoids. Mr Justin Davies, a consultant colorectal and general surgeon, has specialist expertise in the treatment of this condition. In this article, he clarifies what this procedure is, when it’s recommended, its effectiveness and alternative procedures.

A woman is looking into the distance with a contemplative look on her face.

What are haemorrhoids?

Haemorrhoids (also called ‘piles’) are blood-filled cushions of tissue that sit inside the anal canal. They can lead to symptoms of bleeding, protrusion and prolapse, discomfort, itching and discharge if they become engorged and inflamed.


What is haemorrhoid banding?

One potential treatment for haemorrhoids is banding. In this procedure, the tissue just above the haemorrhoid is brought into a band using a simple suction device, usually in the outpatient clinic. The band cuts off the blood supply to the haemorrhoid and a few days later, it will shrink and fall off.


This procedure is generally considered if simple measures have already been tried, such as increasing the amount of fibre in the diet and avoiding straining from constipation. It’s a “walk in, walk out” procedure and should be relatively painless if performed correctly, although simple painkillers can sometimes be needed for 24 hours afterwards.


Can haemorrhoids come back after banding?

Symptoms can return within five years in around 50% of patients who have haemorrhoid banding done. As with all possible haemorrhoid treatments, there are some potential side effects, including bleeding, and your specialist should discuss these with you when considering the options.


Do haemorrhoids share symptoms with other conditions?

Rectal bleeding is one of the most common symptoms of haemorrhoids but this can also be a symptom of other bowel conditions, including bowel cancer. Therefore, your symptoms should be evaluated and an examination performed. It may be advisable to consider an investigation to rule out other serious causes, usually in the form of a flexible camera examination of the lower bowel, such as a colonoscopy or a flexible sigmoidoscopy. Some people choose to live with their haemorrhoid symptoms if they are reassured that there is no other serious problem with the bowel.


What other treatments are there?

Other outpatient/”walk in, walk out” treatments include injection sclerotherapy and radiofrequency ablation procedures such as the Rafaelo procedure. The procedure you are recommended will depend on your symptoms and examination findings. More advanced haemorrhoids may require surgery, either in the form of the minimally invasive HALO/THD procedure, or a haemorrhoidectomy, in which the haemorrhoids are cut away.


Click here to learn how Mr Justin Davies can assist you with colorectal and general surgery procedures.

By Mr Justin Davies

Mr Justin Davies is a leading consultant colorectal and general surgeon based in Cambridge. He specialises in colorectal surgery, treating a range of problems, from haemorrhoids, anal conditions (anal fissure and anal fistula), colorectal (bowel) cancer to inguinal hernias, and diagnosing and treating the causes of rectal bleeding. He has a particular expertise in minimally invasive treatments, including for the treatment of haemorrhoids, and using laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery for colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis) and diverticular disease.

Mr Davies qualified in medicine from the University of Cambridge, where he also achieved a Master of Surgery higher degree. He underwent colorectal fellowship training in Toronto, is a Fellow of the European Board of Surgery (Coloproctology) and elected International Fellow of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. He has worked as a consultant colorectal and general surgeon at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge since 2007 in addition to his private practice at the Nuffield Cambridge and Spire Cambridge Hospital.

Mr Davies is Deputy Medical Director at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, an Associate Lecturer and Bye-Fellow at the University of Cambridge, Chair of the IBD Committee of ACPGBI, Topic Advisor for the NICE Colorectal Cancer Guidelines Committee and Vice President of The Royal Society of Medicine Section of Coloproctology, making him a leading figure in his field. He is a member of the Cambridge Bowel Clinic.

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