About half of all adults over 50 have hemorrhoids. Traditionally, treatment included creams or topical treatments, which provide temporary relief, or surgery to remove them, which can be painful with long recovery times. Today, hemorrhoids can be permanently treated on a non-surgical, outpatient basis.
Infrared Coagulation (IRC) is a procedure in which infrared light is applied to the vessels that provide the hemorrhoids with blood, coagulating the blood and causing the hemorrhoids to shrink and recede.
Hemorrhoid banding is another technique in which small bands are placed around the hemorrhoid, cutting off the blood supply and causing the hemorrhoids to shrink and fall off.
Both procedures are highly effective and require little or no preparation and recovery time. Patients are able to return to normal activities immediately.
What to Expect
On the day of your procedure, your physician may examine the anus using a tube-like instrument called an anoscope.
During the IRC procedure, a small probe is placed above the hemorrhoid and a few short bursts of infrared light are applied. The infrared light coagulates the vessels that provide the hemorrhoid with blood, causing them to shrink and recede over a period of a few days to a few weeks.
During the hemorrhoid banding procedure, a small band is placed around the hemorrhoid, cutting off the blood supply. The hemorrhoids will shrink and fall off, typically within a week, and patients do not generally notice when this occurs.
In both procedures, typically there are no post-treatment effects and patients may return to normal activities, avoiding only heavy straining or lifting over the next several days. Some patients may experience a dull ache or a feeling of fullness in the rectum. This can be relieved with a non-aspirin over-the-counter pain medication.
How to Prepare
Neither IRC nor hemorrhoid banding requires any specific preparation. You may be instructed to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen or any other drugs that make it more difficult for blood to clot several days before the procedure.