JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Transanal haemorrhoidal dearterialization (THD) for selected fourth-degree haemorrhoids.

BACKGROUND: Traditional treatment of fourth-degree haemorrhoidal disease (HD) is conventional haemorrhoidectomy and is frequently associated with significant pain and morbidity. In recent years, the use of transanal haemorrhoidal dearterialization (THD) for the treatment of HD has increased. The procedure aims to decrease the arterial blood flow to the haemorrhoids. Moreover, since a rectal mucopexy to treat the prolapsing component has become part of the THD technique, this treatment is also indicated for more advanced HD. The aim of this study was to assess the possible role of THD in the treatment of fourth-degree HD.

METHODS: All patients with non-fibrotic fourth-degree HD were offered the THD procedure with mucopexy. Excision of skin tags was added to THD and mucopexy, when needed. A specific score was used to assess HD severity, ranging from 0 (no HD) to 20 (worst HD). The mean preoperative score was 18.1 ± 1.8.

RESULTS: Thirty-five consecutive patients (mean age 50.4 ± 13.8 years; 19 men) with fourth-degree HD were prospectively enroled. An average of 6 arteries were identified and transfixed. Mucopexy was achieved with a 3-6 sector plication of rectal mucosa. Mean operating time was 33 ± 12 min. No intraoperative complications were recorded. Postoperative morbidity included 3 (8.6%) haemorrhoidal thromboses (1 requiring surgery) and 2 (5.7%) episodes of bleeding (1 requiring surgical haemostasis). Five patients (14.3%) had urinary retention requiring catheterization. At a median follow-up of 10 months (range 2-28 months), symptoms had resolved or significantly improved in 33 (94%) patients. Nine patients (25.7%) reported irregular bleeding, 3 patients (8.6%) mild anal pain, 4 patients (11.4%) transient anal burning and 4 patients (11.4%) tenesmus. Ten patients (28.6%) experienced some degree of residual prolapse, significant only in 2 (5.7%) who required further surgery. There was no anorectal stenosis, and no faecal incontinence was reported. At a median follow-up of 10 months, the symptomatic score was 2.5 ± 2.5 (P < 0.005).

CONCLUSION: Transanal haemorrhoidal dearterialization seems to be a safe and effective treatment for fourth-degree HD providing a significant improvement of symptoms for the majority of patients. When present, persisting symptoms are mostly transient, occasional or limited in severity, and only a very few patients require further intervention. Larger series and longer follow-up to further assess the role of THD in this challenging group of pts.

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