Undergoing surgery is hardly anyone’s idea of a great time, but if your symptoms are persistent enough, your doctor may recommend a hemorrhoidectomy procedure. This simple surgery, usually taking no more than a single day, will remove distended portions of the affected blood vessels, easing the pressure on them and removing the source of your pain and discomfort.
Hemorrhoids can develop externally, under the skin outside the anus, or internally, within the anus itself. They can become a chronic problem with itching, bleeding and pain.
Certain habits can increase the likelihood of developing hemorrhoids, such as delaying defecation, a low-fiber diet, straining while toileting or sitting on the toilet for long periods of time. Pregnant women often develop hemorrhoids due to the internal pressure of the growing fetus. Obese patients also have increased risk of hemorrhoids because of their weight. Older people are prone to hemorrhoids because tissues that support the veins become weaker.
When A Hemorrhoidectomy Is Needed
Patients may have large internal hemorrhoids deep within the rectum. External hemorrhoids can also become painful and difficult to manage. Some patients may have both internal and external hemorrhoids. These hemorrhoids may not respond to common hemorrhoid treatments and may cause constant pain when going to the bathroom.
A number of different surgical techniques are used in hemorrhoidectomy procedures. Your physician will determine the right one for your needs:
- A rubber band may be placed at the base of the hemorrhoid, which prevents blood flow to the tissues and causes it to dry up.
- The hemorrhoid may be removed with a scalpel, with self-absorbing sutures inserted to close the wound.
- An alternative surgery leaves the wound open to heal without sutures.
- A stapling device may be used to staple the hemorrhoid back onto the wall of the intestine.
- A Doppler-guided scope and probe are used to remove only the affected tissue. This is a new technique that is still being studied.
Recovery From Hemorroidectomy
Hemorrhoidectomy is usually done as a day surgery procedure. A long-acting anesthetic is used to relieve pain for 6 to 12 hours after surgery. You will need someone to drive you home after the surgery. Full recovery from the procedure generally takes 2 to 3 weeks.
- Your surgeon will provide pain medication to manage the post-surgical discomfort.
- Ice packs can also help to reduce pain.
- Some bleeding may occur, especially with the first bowel movement after surgery. Stool softeners are often recommended.
- Drinking fluids and eating a bland diet is generally recommended for a few days after surgery.
- Your surgery may recommend numbing compounds to help with pain during bowel movements.
- Sitz baths can help to relieve pain.
Ensuring Your Surgery Is a Success
Changing your diet and habits to prevent future hemorrhoids is critical to preventing a recurrence of the problem. A healthy diet that includes high-fiber foods, plenty of water, regular exercise and a stool softener, when necessary, can help to keep your digestive system in good condition. Being alert to the need to go to the bathroom and responding to that need quickly can help to prevent the need for hemorrhoidectomies in the future.