JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Rubber band ligation of symptomatic internal hemorrhoids: results of 500 cases.

BACKGROUND/AIM: In this prospective study the results of rubber band ligation (RBL) of symptomatic hemorrhoids in 500 consecutive patients with 2nd (255 cases), 3rd (218 cases) and 4th degree (27 cases) hemorrhoids are presented.

METHODS: The patients' symptoms were hemorrhage in 142 cases (28.4%), prolapse in 33 cases (6.6%) and both hemorrhage and prolapse in 325 cases (65%). Sixteen patients with hemorrhoids had liver cirrhosis and portal hypertension. RBL was performed using the St Marks' applicator (Seward) on an outpatient basis. Multiple ligations in two (259 cases) or three (190 cases) sessions were undertaken in 449 patients (89.8%), while a single ligation was done in 51 cases (10.2%).

RESULTS: Successful results were achieved in 440 cases (88%) in a 24-month follow-up. A total of 94 patients (18.8%) had complications which required no hospitalization. Pain and hemorrhage were the most frequent complications. RBL proved to be safe in 16 patients with coagulation disorders due to liver cirrhosis. Two years after RBL, symptomatic recurrence was 11.9% (53/445) with repeat RBL or surgery in 9.2% (41/445).

CONCLUSIONS: RBL is a useful, safe and successful method for treating symptomatic 2nd and 3rd degree hemorrhoids, which can be applied successfully in selected cases with 4th degree hemorrhoids, but with an increased rate of recurrence and additional treatment requirements. Also, RBL seems to be safe in patients with liver cirrhosis and portal hypertension.

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