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[Necessary and unnecessary treatment options for hemorrhoids].

Up to one third of the general population suffers from symptoms caused by hemorrhoids. Conservative treatment comes first unless the patient presents with an acute hemorrhoidal prolapse or a thrombosis. A fiber enriched diet is the primary treatment option, recommended in the perioperative period as well as a long-term prophylaxis. A timely limited application of topical ointments or suppositories and/or flavonoids are further treatment options. When symptoms persist interventional procedures for grade I-II hemorrhoids, and surgery for grade III-IV hemorrhoids should be considered. Rubber band ligation is the interventional treatment of choice. A comparable efficacy using sclerosing or infrared therapy has not yet been demonstrated. We therefore do not recommend these treatment options for the cure of hemorrhoids. Self-treatment by anal insertion of bougies is of lowrisk and may be successful, particularly in the setting of an elevated sphincter pressure. Anal dilation, sphincterotomy, cryosurgery, bipolar diathermy, galvanic electrotherapy, and heat therapy should be regarded as obsolete given the poor or missing data reported for these methods. For a long time, the classic excisional hemorrhoidectomy was considered to be the gold standard as far as surgical procedures are concerned. Primary closure (Ferguson) seems to be superior compared to the "open" version (Milligan Morgan) with respect to postoperative pain and wound healing. The more recently proposed stapled hemorrhoidopexy (Longo) is particularly advisable for circular hemorrhoids. Compared to excisional hemorrhoidectomy the Longo-operation is associated with reduced postoperative pain, shorter operation time and hospital stay as well as a faster recovery, with the disadvantage though of a higher recurrence rate. Data from Hemorrhoidal Artery Ligation (HAL)-, if appropriate in combination with a Recto-Anal Repair (HAL/RAR)-, demonstrates a similar trend towards a better tolerance of the procedure at the expense of a higher recurrence rate. These relatively "new" procedures equally qualify for the treatment of grade III and IV hemorrhoids, and, in the case of stapled hemorrhoidopexy, may even be employed in the emergency situation of an acute anal prolapse. While under certain circumstances different treatment options are equivalent, there is a clear specificity with respect to the application of those procedures in other situations. The respective pros and cons need to be discussed separately with every patient. According to their own requirements a treatment strategy has to be defined according to their individual requirements.

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