Haemorrhoid banding, also referred to as 'rubber band ligation' is an often effective alternative to surgery for internal haemorrhoids. It is the most common treatment for haemerrhoids when other treatments have not worked, with ~80% of people who undergo the procedure having a successful outcome.
How does Haemorrhoid Banding work?
Rubber bands are used to tie off the haemorrhoids at their base. As blood supply is lost, the haemorrhoids shrink and fall off naturally within a week.
The doctor performing the procedure normally inserts a device called an 'anoscope' into the anus to be able to see the haemorrhoids and then uses a clamp to grasp them and tie them off. Using this procedure only two separate haemorrhoids can be treated at one time. If there are more, these can be treated 4-6 weeks later.
After the procedure
Patients may experience some feelings of tightness afterwards, and warm 'sitz' baths (a shallow bath of warm water) will help with this. Pain relief may be needed for up to 48 hours after the procedure. Some bleeding may also occur when the rubber bands fall off, which is normal, and occasionally the area may become sore about 5-7 days after the procedure. In rare cases, there may be severe pain and/or a local infection, but these are relatively easily treated.
Most patients can return to normal activity straight away, although it is often advisable to rest up for 2-3 days. No heavy work or heavy lifting should be undertaken for two weeks after the procedure. It is advisable to avoid aspirin and non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs during the recovery period to reduce the risk of bleeding. It is also a good idea to follow a high fibre diet and drink plenty of fluids to ensure soft stools - straining and constipation after the procedure can cause haemorrhoids to return.