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Important Facts About Hemorrhoid Embolization

Posted on August 14, 2023

Hemorrhoid embolization is one of the newest treatment options for painful internal hemorrhoids. But what are internal hemorrhoids, why do they form, and why is embolization an ideal treatment option? This post highlights everything you need to know!

What are internal hemorrhoids and why do they form?

Internal hemorrhoids form inside your rectum. They often develop because of pressure from straining when you're trying to have a bowel movement. Symptoms include bleeding when you pass stool along with mild discomfort. Based on the severity of your symptoms, your hemorrhoids will be diagnosed on a grade scale between 1 and 4. Many people discover they have internal hemorrhoids when they notice blood spots on their toilet paper or in the bowl.

What are the newest procedures for treating hemorrhoids? Diagram of internal hemorrhoids

Grade 1 hemorrhoids can usually be managed with diet and lifestyle changes, by adding more water intake and fiber during the day. But grade 2, 3 and 4 hemorrhoids will need more invasive interventions. And, in the past, treating these grades of internal hemorrhoids was challenging. Your only option was to surgically remove the hemorrhoids.

Luckily, today, we have new and promising treatment options, including laser treatment and hemorrhoid embolization. And, as the research shows, embolization is a minimally invasive treatment option that is showing equal or better results compared to surgery. Better yet, it delivers those results with a far easier recovery period and fewer risks for complications.

What is hemorrhoid embolization?

When you develop internal hemorrhoids,  the Corpus Cavernosum Recti (CCR) network of veins and arteries gets involved. As a result, a hemorrhoid embolization aims to reduce CCR blood flow, reducing pain, pressure, and other hemorrhoid symptoms such as itching, pain and bleeding.

What can you expect during the procedure? To begin with, we'll insert a small catheter through a miniscule hole in your wrist or groin, guiding it to the blood vessels in your rectum via X-ray. Once in place, we'll implant small coils in your blood vessels. This will block them, reducing blood flow, pressure, and unwanted symptoms. The entire procedure lasts about 45 minutes. It doesn't hurt, almost never involves an overnight hospital stay, and most patients can go back to work the day after their procedure.

What is the success rate of hemorrhoid embolization?

Because the procedure is relatively new, long term data is not yet available. However, the results we do have so far are extremely promising. In a 2016 French study following 40 patients with grade 1 to 3 internal hemorrhoids, not one patient had experienced a post-procedural complication at the one-month mark. Better yet, 94% of the patients had experienced relief from the procedure.

More recently, a 2018 study followed up with 25 patients with grade 2 and 3 diagnoses, one year after receiving hemorrhoid embolization. In this French study, there were once again zero post-procedural complications. And 78% of the patients still experienced relief a full year after their embolizations.

Choosing Hemorrhoid Embolization in Houston and Dallas, TX

While this procedure is safe and effective, we recommend hemorrhoid embolization to patients with grade 2 or 3 internal hemorrhoids. Before choosing embolization, you should try non-surgical treatments, including hygiene and dietary changes and medications. If those treatment options have failed you, and you're still seeking relief from internal hemorrhoids, we invite you to schedule a consultationschedule a consultationschedule a consultation with our Dallas and Houston area interventional radiologists, offering hemorrhoid embolization and other minimally-invasive interventions!

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