12 February 2014
Around 50 per cent of us will suffer from piles (or haemorrhoids) during our lives.* In most cases, symptoms are mild and often settle down without treatment or with non-surgical treatments. However, for those who don’t respond to non-surgical treatments, a procedure, which offers a less painful alternative to traditional methods, is now available and Spire Leeds Hospital is the first and only hospital in Leeds to offer it.
The Doppler guided Haemorrhoidal Artery Ligation Operation (known as HALO or THD)** is designed to eradicate piles without the need for cutting or a general anaesthetic. It is relatively pain-free and most patients are back at work within 24-48 hours following surgery.
Elizabeth Sheard from Leeds is one of the first patients to benefit from the THD procedure being available at Spire Leeds Hospital. Elizabeth, 78, a retired beauty therapist, had suffered from painful piles (swollen tissue and blood vessels in the back passage) for years – ever since the birth of her two children. Things got progressively worse and for the last five years Elizabeth has suffered from debilitating pain.
“Piles made my life a misery! Sitting down was agony and I suffered sleepless nights as I could not get comfortable,” said Elizabeth. “Some of my friends had suffered piles and had them removed through traditional surgery. However, they were in such pain after the operation, it put me off having it done.”
Then Elizabeth, who is married with four grandchildren and one great grandchild, learned about the HALO procedure while watching the television show, ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ and decided to find out more about it. After extensive Internet research she talked to her GP, who referred her, as an NHS patient, to Mr. Sushil Maslekar, consultant colorectal surgeon at Spire Leeds Hospital. Elizabeth had the THD surgery in October 2013.
“I’m the sort of person who likes to know all the details of what to expect,” said Elizabeth. “Mr. Maslekar was fantastic! He explained everything he was going to do so I knew exactly what was happening. It was very reassuring.”
Mr. Maslekar said,” Elizabeth’s symptoms were affecting her quality of life very badly. She had third degree piles, which were quite large and would often be treated with a conventional haemorrhoidectomy. However, as Elizabeth had complex heart surgery in the past and is also on blood thinners she was not a candidate for conventional surgery - a majority of patients suffer with varying degrees of pain and bleeding following this procedure and recovery can take up to six weeks. THD is an excellent alternative treatment with many benefits. It is a very straightforward procedure, does not involve cutting haemorrhoids, and there are virtually no complications. In addition, patients are generally able to return to work within 24-48 hours after the procedure.“
He described the surgery. “The procedure uses a miniature Doppler ultrasound device to locate all the arteries supplying the haemorrhoids. The device also has a small window, which allows a stitch to be placed around the artery, cutting off the blood supply to the pile. After the procedure is completed all the arteries supplying the pile shrink away. Elizabeth has had excellent results with a complete resolution of her symptoms.”
Although the procedure is usually performed as a day case, Mr. Maslekar used a spinal block rather than a general anaesthetic, due to the fact that Elizabeth has severe reactions to anaesthetic, and she returned home the following day.
Elizabeth felt better within a couple of days. “I was conscious throughout the operation but did not feel a thing. No pain at all.”
“Its such a pleasure to be free of the pain and discomfort, to live a normal life and enjoy my grandchildren. We’re all so embarrassed to speak about these things; however, I think this procedure is so life changing that I want to tell everyone about it. It could help so many people who suffer the debilitating pain from haemorrhoids.”
** (THD) Transanal Haemorrhoidal Dearterialization