Haemorrhoids, caused by venous swelling at or inside the anal sphincter and rather like varicose veins in the canal of the anus, are painful and often a source of embarrassment. But if you suffer from haemorrhoids, you're not alone. It has been estimated that anywhere from 50-75 per cent of the adult population in the UK may suffer from the problem at some time in their life.
The good news is the treatment of haemorrhoids or piles has come a long way in the past decade. The use of minimally invasive surgery has meant a reduced risk of complications, less pain and a dramatically faster recovery.
And one Reading consultant, Mr Simon Middleton, consultant general and colorectal surgeon at Spire Dunedin Hospital, has been at the very forefront of new innovations and the first in the UK to perform the very latest procedure for piles.
Mr Simon Middleton
Mr Middleton performed the first Haemorrhoidal Artery Ligation Operation (HALO™) designed to eradicate piles without the need for cutting or a general anaesthetic in the UK in 2003.
The operation uses a miniature Doppler ultrasound device to locate all the arteries supplying the haemorrhoids as they come down from the rectum under the lining of the bowel. The device also has a small window which allows a stitch to be placed around the artery thus cutting off the blood supply to the pile. During the course of the procedure all the arteries supplying the piles are located and tied off. Over the next few days and weeks the pile shrinks away and the symptoms resolve. The whole procedure takes about 20 minutes and is far less painful, with fewer potential risks than a conventional cutting haemorrhoidectomy.
Fast forward to March 2014 and Mr Middleton recently performed the UK's first HALO™ procedure using wireless technology.
The Trilogy for HALO™ wireless device
The easy-to-handle wireless device called Trilogy for HALO™ gives the benefit of Doppler-ultrasound technology with no attachments.
Mr Middleton says: "A Bluetooth connection between the unit and speaker means you can hear the system's signals for precise detection of haemorrhoidal arteries with the freedom to manoeuvre the unit and attached probe as required. In addition, the absence of a cable – which acts as an antenna for surrounding electromagnetic radiation – means the equipment is less sensitive to interference and the arteries can be heard more clearly than ever before.
"All-in-all this allows for even more efficiency for the surgeon and greater safety and less pain for the patient."
Margaret da Costa, hospital director, says: "This demonstrates that Spire Dunedin Hospital is at the cutting edge of delivering new technology in the treatment of colorectal conditions. We are delighted that Mr Middleton is able to offer this latest development to patients with what is a common condition."
Charles Reynolds, managing director of CJ Medical commented, "We are delighted to work with Mr Middleton to develop the Trilogy for HALO™ technology at Spire Dunedin Hospital. Trilogy for HALO™ now provides surgeons with a no-attachments wireless technology for the HALO™ procedure, promoting patient comfort and faster recovery."
To find out more about the treatment, call the hospital today on 0118 955 3454.
HALO™ is a registered trade mark with permission for use provided by the HALO™ Centre (www.halocentre.com.)