Doppler-guided hemorrhoidal artery ligation: an alternative to hemorrhoidectomy

George Felice, Antonio Privitera, Ernest Ellul, Maria Klaumann
Diseases of the Colon and Rectum 2005, 48 (11): 2090-3

PURPOSE: Postoperative pain is the main adverse effect of formal hemorrhoidectomy. A new technique based on Doppler-guided ligation of the terminal branches of the superior hemorrhoidal artery was introduced in 1995 as an alternative to hemorrhoidectomy. The authors report a preliminary experience with this procedure.

METHODS: The Doppler-guided hemorrhoidal artery ligation technique uses a special proctoscope bearing a Doppler transducer that allows identification and suture ligation of the hemorrhoidal arteries. Sixty-eight consecutive patients (mean age, 48 years; range, 21-74 years) with Grade 3 hemorrhoids were treated.

RESULTS: Intraoperative discomfort was measured by a visual analog scale (1-10) and resulted in a mean score of 2.3 (range, 1.3-2.8). Only 38 percent of patients required postoperative analgesia. Patients were examined at 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months and every 6 months thereafter. The mean follow-up was 11 (range, 3-18) months. Bleeding resolved in 91 percent of patients, pain in 73 percent, and prolapse in 94 percent. Complications were recorded in five patients and included persistent pain for more than two days in two patients (3 percent), swelling and thrombosis of one of the hemorrhoids in two patients (3 percent), and a secondary hemorrhage in one patient (1.5 percent).

CONCLUSION: Doppler-guided ligation of the hemorrhoidal artery is a safe and effective alternative to hemorrhoidectomy and is associated with minimal discomfort and low risk of complications.

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