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Hemorrhoid Embolization: What's Involved?

Posted on October 22, 2023
Internal and external hemorrhoids with bleeding infographic

What is hemorrhoid embolization? It's one of the newest, and least invasive, ways to find relief for internal hemorrhoids. But what are internal hemorrhoids, who is affected by this condition, and why does HE offer effective relief? Here's what you need to know!

Why internal hemorrhoids form

Internal hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels that develop inside the rectum. Typically, that happens due to the pressure of constipation or when you strain to pass bowel movements. Symptoms include bleeding when you pass stool, as well as itching and/or mild discomfort.

When you have internal hemorrhoids, they're classified based on symptom severity, using a scale of grades 1 to 4 (1 is least severe). While not every patient experiences discomfort, most realize they have internal hemorrhoids when they see blood spots on the toilet paper or in the bowl.

What are my options for treating hemorrhoids?

If you have Grade 1 (or mild) hemorrhoids, you can usually find relief with lifestyle changes such as increasing water and fiber intake. However, with grades 2 through 4 hemorrhoids, you'll likely need medical intervention to find relief. In the past, that almost always meant surgery. However, over the last 10 years ago, we've perfected a new treatment option: hemorrhoid embolization. Backed by research, this minimally invasive treatment option provides equal or superior relief to surgical hemorrhoid removal. And, thanks to a shorter, easier recovery period, you face lower risks for complications.

What is hemorrhoid embolization?

Internal hemorrhoids involve the Corpus Cavernosum Recti (CCR) network of arteries and veins. So, by reducing CCR blood flow via embolization, we're able to also reduce the pain, pressure, itching and bleeding of internal hemorrhoids.

What should you expect during embolization? First, our interventional radiologists insert a small catheter through your wrist or groin. Using this tiny access point, we then guide that catheter to blood vessels in the rectum with the help of X-ray imaging. Once in place, we can then implant small coils in those blood vessels, reducing the flow of blood and your symptoms of internal hemorrhoids. Just about 45 minutes later, you'll be ready to go, returning to work the next day and avoiding an overnight hospital stay.

Success rates of hemorrhoid embolization

Despite being a 10-year-old procedure, current efficacy results are promising. One 2016 study followed 40 patients experiencing grade 1 to 3 internal hemorrhoids; one month after embolization, none experienced post-procedural complications, and 94% achieved relief.

By 2018, a more recent study followed 25 patients with grade 2 and 3 internal hemorrhoid patients, one year after a hemorrhoid embolization. Again, none experienced post-procedural complications. And 78% were still symptom-free, enjoying lasting hemorrhoid relief.

Hemorrhoid Embolization in Texas

While hemorrhoid embolization is safe and effective, it's only recommended for patients with grade 2 or 3 internal hemorrhoids. Before coming to our Texas Hemorrhoid institute, try lifestyle changes to see if they can provide relief. Then, if you still experience the pain, itching and bleeding of internal hemorrhoids, come and schedule a consult schedule a consult schedule a consultwith our interventional radiologists!

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