Day-case stapled (circular) vs. diathermy hemorrhoidectomy: a randomized, controlled trial evaluating surgical and functional outcome

Matti Kairaluoma, Kyösti Nuorva, Ilmo Kellokumpu
Diseases of the Colon and Rectum 2003, 46 (1): 93-9

PURPOSE: Stapled hemorrhoidectomy may be associated with less pain and faster recovery than conventional hemorrhoidectomy for prolapsing hemorrhoids. Therefore, the outcome of stapled hemorrhoidectomy was compared with that of diathermy hemorrhoidectomy in a randomized, controlled trial.

METHODS: Sixty patients with third-degree hemorrhoids were randomly assigned to stapled hemorrhoidectomy (n = 30) or to diathermy hemorrhoidectomy in a day-case setting. Visual analog scale was used for postoperative pain scoring. Surgical and functional outcome was assessed at six weeks and one year after surgery.

RESULTS: Operation time was a median of 21 (range, 11-59) minutes in the stapled group. 22 (range, 14-40) minutes in the diathermy group. Day-case surgery was successful in 24 patients (80 percent) in the stapled group vs. 29 patients (97 percent) in the diathermy group. Average pain in the stapled group was significantly lower than in the diathermy group (median, 1.8 (0.1-4.8) vs. 4.3 (1.4-6.2), 95 percent confidence interval difference medians, 1.15-3.85, P = 0.0002, Mann-Whitney U test) as was the average pain expected by the patients (median -2.7 (-0.15-0.8) vs. 0.006 (-4.05-0.5) respectively, 95 percent confidence interval difference medians, 0.5-3.55, P = 0.0018, Mann-Whitney U test). Postoperative morbidity and time off work were not significantly different between the diathermy and stapled groups. Seven treatment failures in the stapled group and one in the diathermy group necessitated other treatments at a later date. Patient satisfaction scores in the stapled and diathermy group were similar. Symptoms attributed to difficult rectal evacuation decreased significantly after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS: Stapled hemorrhoidectomy is a significantly less painful operation than diathermy hemorrhoidectomy, but does not seem to offer significant advantages in terms of hospital stay or symptom control in the long term. Hemorrhoidectomy may improve symptoms of difficult rectal evacuation.

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