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Is hemorrhoid embolization the same as hemorrhoidectomy?

Posted on December 05, 2023
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Is hemorrhoid embolization the same as hemorrhoidectomy? Well, while both are treatment options for hemorrhoids, these are very different procedures when it comes to invasiveness and post-procedural recovery. What is similar, however, are the procedures' success rates when it comes to providing hemorrhoid relief! How is that possible? Let’s find out, together!

What are hemorrhoids?

Symptomatic hemorrhoids, or piles, are just enlarged veins that form in your rectum and/or anus. In some cases, their walls stretch so thinly that they bulge and develop irritation. If you have hemorrhoids, they may be internal (forming in the lower rectum, above the anus); external (forming around the anus); or thrombosed (internal or external hemorrhoids that develop a blood clot.)

When you are hoping to treat your hemorrhoids, your condition will be described in terms of a grading system that’s based on severity. And the severity of your condition will help determine your ideal treatment option.

  • Grade 1
    These hemorrhoids are small, and you can’t usually see or feel them. Still, they can cause bleeding during bowel movements.

  • Grade 2 hemorrhoids may protrude outside your anus when passing a bowel movement, but typically return without assistance. Symptoms include pain, itching, discomfort and bleeding.

  • Grade 3 hemorrhoids bulge outside your anal canal and won’t go back inside unless they’re physically pushed back. They also cause pain, bleeding, and itching.

  • Grade 4 symptomatic hemorrhoids are so prolapsed that they won’t stay inside the anal canal even when manually repositioned. Symptoms are severe.  

What is hemorrhoid embolization?

Hemorrhoid embolization, also referred to as hemorrhoid artery embolization (HAE) is a non-surgical treatment for symptomatic hemorrhoids. It’s a minimally invasive procedure with a high success rate, minimal discomfort, faster recovery and a lower risk for complications.

Candidates for HAE have internal hemorrhoids that are at stage 2 or 3, causing significant discomfort for the patient. In order to resolve this discomfort, the HAE procedure involves inserting a small catheter into the arteries that deliver blood to your hemorrhoids. Next, our Texas hemorrhoid specialists inject embolic material to these catheters, blocking the arteries and cutting off blood flow to the hemorrhoids. Without that blood supply, the hemorrhoids begin to shrink, eventually disappearing.

What is hemorrhoidectomy?

A hemorrhoidectomy is the surgical removal of internal or external hemorrhoids. It is typically reserved for patients with severe symptoms, and grade 3 or 4 hemorrhoids, since this surgery is associated with complications such as pain, bleeding, retention of urine, urinary tract infections and fecal impaction or incontinence.

Is hemorrhoid embolization the same as hemorrhoidectomy: exploring success rates!

Hemorrhoidectomy comes with a 95% success rate when it comes to treating severe hemorrhoids. But the procedure is also known to cause complications, and comes with an intense recovery procedure.

In contrast, HAE is also a very effective treatment option for internal hemorrhoids. (As a newer treatment options, long-term data is less readily available, so the numbers aren’t as exact.) However, clinical studies consistently demonstrate that HAE has a high success rate at treating internal grade 2-3 hemorrhoids, effectively reducing bleeding, itching, and discomfort while significantly improving your overall quality of life.

Even better? Compared to hemorrhoidectomy, HAE has a lower risk of complications. Plus, it’s commonly performed on an outpatient basis, meaning you can avoid an overnight hospital stay. And, because it’s a minimally invasive discomfort, HAE also minimizes your discomfort and recovery period. Finally, HAE is a more affordable treatment option, since it allows you to avoid long hospital stays.

So, to return to our original question: is hemorrhoid embolization the same hemorrhoidectomy? Well, if you have grade 2 or 3 hemorrhoids, here’s your answer: the relief they provide is likely to be the same, but the cost, pain and risk for complications is much lower for HAE than for hemorrhoidectomy.

Ready to find out if you’re a candidate for HAE in Texas? Click here to request an appointmentClick here to request an appointmentClick here to request an appointment

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