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.
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.
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