SYSTEMATIC REVIEW
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Stapled versus conventional surgery for hemorrhoids.

BACKGROUND: Hemorrhoids are one of the most common anorectal disorders. The Milligan‐Morgan open hemorrhoidectomy is the most widely practiced surgical technique used for the management of hemorrhoids and is considered the current "gold standard". Circular stapled hemorrhoidopexy was first described by Longo in 1998 as alternative to conventional excisional hemorrhoidectomy. Early, small randomized‐controlled trials comparing stapled hemorrhoidopexy with traditional excisional surgery have shown it to be less painful and that it is associated with quicker recovery. The reports also suggest a better patient acceptance and a higher compliance with day‐case procedures potentially making it more economical. A previous Cochrane Review of stapled hemorrhoidopexy and conventional excisional surgery has shown that the stapled technique is associated with a higher risk of recurrent hemorrhoids and some symptoms in long term follow‐up. Since this initial review, several more randomized controlled trials have been published that may shed more light on the differences between the novel stapled approach and conventional excisional techniques.

OBJECTIVES: This review compares the use of circular stapling devices and conventional excisional techniques in the surgical treatment of hemorrhoids. Its goal is to ascertain whether there is any difference in the outcomes of the two techniques in patients with symptomatic hemorrhoids.

SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched all the major electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) from 1998 to December 2009.

SELECTION CRITERIA: All randomized controlled trials comparing stapled hemorrhoidopexy to conventional excisional hemorrhoidal surgeries with a minimum follow‐up period of 6 months were included.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Data were collected on a data sheet. When appropriate, an Odds Ratio was generated using a random effects model.

MAIN RESULTS: Patients with SH were significantly more likely to have recurrent hemorrhoids in long term follow up at all time points than those with CH (12 trials, 955 patients, OR 3.22, CI 1.59‐6.51, p=0.001). There were 37 recurrences out of 479 patients in the stapled group versus only 9 out of 476 patients in the conventional group. Similarly, in trials where there was follow up of one year or more, SH was associated with a greater proportion of patients with hemorrhoid recurrence (5 trials, 417 patients, OR 3.60, CI 1.24‐10.49, p=0.02). Furthermore, a significantly higher proportion of patients with SH complained of the symptom of prolapse at all time points (13 studies, 1191 patients, OR 2.65, CI 1.45‐4.85, p=0.002). In studies with follow up of greater than one year, the same significant outcome was found (7 studies, 668 patients, OR 3.14, CI 1.20‐8.22, p=0.02). Patients undergoing SH were more likely to require an additional operative procedure compared to those who underwent CH (8 papers, 553 patients, OR 2.75, CI 1.31‐5.77, p=0.008). When all symptoms were considered, patients undergoing CH surgery were more likely to be asymptomatic (12 trials, 1097 patients, OR 0.59, CI 0.40‐0.88). Non significant trends in favor of SH were seen in pain, pruritis ani, and fecal urgency. All other clinical parameters showed trends favoring CH.

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