Infrared photocoagulation for hemorrhoids

An infrared coagulator is a specialized instrument that produces a very high-
temperature focused bream of light that can be used to ‘spot weld’ bleeding vessels
in the anal canal.  These may be hemorrhoid vessels or lone vessels that have
been bleeding.  Infrared photocoagulation is performed under direct vision and is
extremely accurate.  The photocoagulator is calibrated to produce a burn of very
controlled depth, just enough to coagulate the offending vessel.  The procedure is
well-tolerated, most patients feel some heat or mild discomfort while they are being
treated, and some aching for a few days afterward.  There is usually less discomfort
than following rubber band ligation.  The site is reviewed in 6 weeks and additional
treatment given if necessary.

Rubber band ligation may be more suitable for hemorrhoids that are both bleeding
and prolapsing since the band does cut off some of the prolapsing tissue and
will deal with the bleeding at the same time.  But, in patients with bleeding and
no significant prolapse, infrared photocoagulation makes more sense.  Infrared
photocoagulators are relatively uncommon.  The Pezim Clinic has two of them.

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