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What is Hemorrhoid Banding?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2016
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Hemorrhoid banding is also referred to as rubber band ligation. To ligate means to bind or tie. In this case, the actual hemorrhoids, typically internal hemorrhoids, are tied or bound with special rubber bands that will reduce circulation to the hemorrhoid, resulting in death of hemorrhoid when the procedure is successful. Though somewhat uncomfortable in the first few days of treatment, hemorrhoid banding tends to work in about eight in ten cases, and may be considered a good option for people with internal hemorrhoids.

It’s possible for hemorrhoid banding to take place in an operating room under anesthesia if more than two hemorrhoids are treated consecutively. In most cases, banding will occur in a doctor’s office, with use of a local anesthetic, if necessary, to dull discomfort. The basic procedure involves placing tight rubber bands on a hemorrhoid, resulting in reduced or fully cut of blood supply to the growth. When blood can’t get to the hemorrhoid, tissue death occurs, usually within a few weeks, and the hemorrhoid simply falls off the skin. To avoid performing this procedure under general anesthesia, several banding sessions that are a few weeks apart may be planned when large numbers of internal hemorrhoids are present.

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People usually want to know what it will feel like after the bands are placed, and this can vary with each person. Some common side effects, felt most in the first few days after hemorrhoid banding can include mild to moderate discomfort, and a fairly constant sense of needing to evacuate the bowels, which is due to the extra matter in the rectum. Pain can be managed by over the counter medications like acetaminophen, and most people will find discomfort ceases by about the third day. A few people are so uncomfortable after the procedure they might require a few days of resting.

As each hemorrhoid shrinks, symptoms become far less noticeable. Many people are able to resume most regular activities, but they cannot do any activities that involve heavy lifting or pulling large objects. People are also asked to report any symptoms that would be considered unusual, and these would include fever, unrelenting and acute pain, rectal bleeding, or inability to urinate. Follow-up visits are usually scheduled within seven to ten days of the procedure to be certain it was effective.

Hemorrhoid banding is only one of many procedures that might be tried to remove hemorrhoids. Doctors may favor other methods, including surgical or chemical removal. Many doctors are fans of banding since it is minimally invasive, easy to perform, and has a fairly high success rate. Still, each patient will be different and rubber band ligation may or may not be appropriate for the individual.

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