What is haemorrhoidectomy?
Haemorrhoid removal treatment or haemorrhoidectomy is an operation to remove haemorrhoids (piles) from the anus. Haemorrhoidectomy is usually carried out as a day-case procedure, with no overnight stay in hospital.
The operation is usually performed under general anaesthesia. This means you will be asleep throughout the procedure. Some people choose epidural anaesthesia instead. This numbs your body from the waist down, but you will still be awake.
Your surgeon will explain the benefits and risks of having your haemorrhoids removed, and will discuss the alternatives to the procedure.
About the operation
There are a number of techniques for removing haemorrhoids. The most common technique involves placing a tight stitch (ligature) around the base of the haemorrhoid to control any bleeding during the operation. Then, your surgeon will make a cut on the outer part of the haemorrhoid and remove any excess tissue. The wound may be closed with dissolvable stitches. Most of the stitches will be inside the anal canal. These stitches will dissolve over about two to four weeks.
The surgeon may place an absorbent pack into your rectum to help stem any further bleeding. This usually stays in place until your first bowel movement. The operation usually takes 30 to 60 minutes.
Another technique is called circular stapled haemorrhoidectomy. A circular stapler is placed inside the rectum. It removes a ring of the rectal tissue above the haemorrhoids. This blocks the blood supply to the haemorrhoids so that they shrink.
This is a fairly new technique, and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has found that it works as well as the usual technique. There also seem to be fewer problems, such as bleeding afterwards. For more information, please visit the NICE website www.nice.org.uk.
After a haemorrhoidectomy, you will have some pain at the site of the operation for a few days and there may be a small amount of bleeding or discharge from the anus.
Haemorrhoidectomy is a commonly performed and generally safe surgical procedure. For most people, the benefits are greater than any disadvantages. However, all surgery carries an element of risk.
Specific complications of a haemorrhoidectomy are unusual but can include:
- constipation for a few days after the operation
- an infection of the operation site or the urinary tract
- the stitches coming apart, leaving an open wound – this usually heals quickly
- scar tissue causing the anus to become tighter (stenosis), which can make it difficult to pass stools – you may need treatment called anal dilation
- bleeding that starts a week or more after the operation, which may require further surgery
The chance of complications depends on the exact type of operation you are having and other factors such as your general health. Ask your surgeon to explain in more detail how any risks apply to you.