Hemorrhoid surgery removes swollen blood vessels inside or around the anus and rectum. Doctors refer to these swollen vessels as hemorrhoids.
There are different surgical options for hemorrhoid treatment that cause a person discomfort. Surgeries aim to restrict the blood supply or remove the hemorrhoid.
Rubber band ligation is a common example of hemorrhoid surgery. This procedure involves using a band to restrict the blood supply to a hemorrhoid, causing it eventually to fall off.
The recovery time for hemorrhoid surgery varies but, for many people, it can be as short as 1 week.
This article will discuss the purpose of hemorrhoid surgeries, the different types, and recovery times.
Types of hemorrhoid surgery include rubber band ligation and sclerotherapy.
Hemorrhoids, or piles, are veins inside or around the anus and lower rectum that have become inflamed.
They are very common, affecting around 1 in 20 people.
There are two types of hemorrhoids, depending on their location. External hemorrhoids form under the skin of the anus, whereas internal hemorrhoids form within the lining of the anus and lower rectum.
In many cases, hemorrhoids occur without symptoms and people may not notice them. In other cases, the symptoms can be uncomfortable and may require treatment.
The symptoms of external hemorrhoids can include:
- itching around the anus
- pain around the anus, particularly when sitting
- tender lumps around the anus
The symptoms of internal hemorrhoids can include:
- bleeding during bowel movements
- hemorrhoid falling out of the anus, known as a prolapse
The most effective form of treatment for hemorrhoids that are causing uncomfortable symptoms is hemorrhoid surgery. Typically, this is an option for people who are experiencing symptoms that do not respond to other forms of therapy, such as dietary changes.
The aim of surgery is to make the hemorrhoid shrink or disappear. This is done by:
- removing the hemorrhoid
- reducing blood supply to the hemorrhoid
Surgery can be helpful for symptoms that are causing significant pain, as a doctor can remove the hemorrhoid quickly. However, the recovery time from surgery can be several weeks.
Another advantage of surgery is that a doctor can remove multiple hemorrhoids in one go. Typically, a gastroenterologist can preform this procedure.
There are several different types of hemorrhoid surgery, as described below:
Rubber band ligation
This is a procedure for treating bleeding or prolapsing internal hemorrhoids. It involves placing a rubber band around the base of a hemorrhoid. This will restrict its blood supply, eventually causing the hemorrhoid to fall off.
Coagulation can treat bleeding internal hemorrhoids that are not protruding. A doctor will use an electric current or infrared light to create scar tissue on the hemorrhoid. This tissue will restrict the blood supply to the hemorrhoid, again, causing it to fall off.
This procedure involves a doctor injecting a chemical solution into an internal hemorrhoid. The solution helps to relieve pain by making nerve endings numb around the area. It also causes scar tissue to form, and the hemorrhoid to fall off.
This procedure aims to remove the hemorrhoid. A surgeon performs the procedure in a hospital where the patient receives either a spinal block or a local anesthetic.
The surgeon will open the anus and gently cut out the hemorrhoids. They can make the cut using a variety of surgical instruments, such as surgical scissors or a laser. There is no difference in discomfort between these devices.
After removing the hemorrhoids, the surgeon will seal the wounds, leave the wounds open, or use a combination of both methods.
The reason for leaving a wound open is typically either that the wound is difficult to close due to its location or that other health conditions are present.
This procedure helps treat internal hemorrhoids that have grown large, or prolapsed. It cannot treat external hemorrhoids.
A surgeon will perform this process by using anesthetic. During it, the surgeon will use a special device to staple the hemorrhoids into a normal position within the anal canal. This restricts the blood supply to the hemorrhoids and causes them to reduce in size slowly.
Some studies have found that hemorrhoid stapling can be less painful than traditional hemorrhoidectomy and may have a shorter recovery time. However, there is a greater chance of the condition occurring again.
A person should drink plenty of water to aid their recovery.
The recovery time for these procedures varies.
Procedures that restrict the blood supply to a hemorrhoid require several days afterward for the hemorrhoid to fall off.
The wound can then take 1 to 2 weeks to fully heal.
Hemorrhoid banding can take two to four procedures to remove a hemorrhoid entirely. The procedures are usually 6 to 8 weeks apart.
The recovery time for surgical procedures that remove hemorrhoids varies. It can take 1 to 3 weeks to make a full recovery.
Following surgery, people can help their recovery by doing the following:
- eating a fiber-rich diet
- avoiding sitting for long periods
- drinking plenty of water
- taking a Sitz bath
- not straining during a bowel movement
- avoiding regular, heavy lifting
- avoiding long periods of sitting
All types of hemorrhoid surgery involve safe procedures that can treat hemorrhoids effectively. They are a good option if other nonsurgical treatments have not been successful. In most cases, a full recovery is possible within 1 to 3 weeks.
Serious complications are rare, but it is possible to experience some bleeding after surgery. If the bleeding becomes severe, it is essential to contact a doctor.
Medically reviewed by Saurabh Sethi, M.D., MPH