Infrared Coagulation is a non-surgical procedure used to treat internal hemorrhoids. Infrared Coagulation is known as a fixative treatment, and is similar to other fixative treatments such as Rubber Band Ligation and Sclerotherapy , in that its objective is it reduce hemorrhoidal symptoms by eliminating hemorrhoids through obstruction of blood-flow to the infected region. Individuals can suffer from a variety of hemorrhoids, each case presenting its own symptoms and necessitating different courses of treatment. It is necessary to educate yourself and consult with your physician to decide on the proper intervention that will address your specific needs. This article will provide for you basic information specifically about Infrared Coagulation.
Infrared Coagulation is one of the most commonly prescribed procedures used to treat certain smaller, internal hemorrhoids. Like its sister fixative procedures, Infrared Coagulation is non-surgical and can be performed on a same-day basis in a doctor’s office. Because the side-effects, risks, and recovery time are so reduced, and because it boasts such a high success rate, it is favored amongst both doctors and patients.
Infrared Coagulation consists of inserting a small instrument into the anus that acts as a probe. Upon contact with the hemorrhoid, the probe emits a burst of infrared light directly onto the infected tissue for approximately 1 to 1.5 seconds. Exposing the hemorrhoid to the infrared light causes the hemorrhoidal vein to coagulate, or scar, which reduces blood flow to the hemorrhoid, eventually causing it shrivel, harden, and fall off. The scarring also acts as a prophylactic between the hemorrhoid and the anus and protects against further re-inflammation.
Infrared Coagulation does not cause discomfort, and unlike other fixative treatments such as Rubber Band Ligation or Sclerotherapy , does not typically require the use of anesthetics. Frequently, what the patient does experience during Infrared Coagulation is a momentary sensation of heat, which though frequently uncomfortable is rarely reported to actually be painful. The recovery time is relatively short, and typically patients can return to their regular activities the same day. As with most procedures performed to the rectal area, activities that require heavy lifting or straining should be avoided. Typically the procedure must be repeated approximately every 12 to 14 days, and only one hemorrhoid at a time may be treated per session.
Infrared Coagulation has an excellent success rate for small to medium internal hemorrhoids , and it is reported that with proper changes to diet, exercise, and bowel habits, symptoms do not return. It is not uncommon to experience slight bleeding from the anus for about 7 to 10 days, after which time the hemorrhoid falls off. Patients are often advised to use mild or over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol to reduce discomfort; consult with your physician before using NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or aspirin prior to, or just after, undergoing Infrared Coagulation, because of the risk of excessive bleeding clotting that can arise as a secondary complication, depending on your personal medical history. It is also common for doctors to prescribe stool softeners after Infrared Coagulation, to assist with easier bowel movement and thus ensure straining does not occur.
Infrared Coagulation’s success depends on both your doctor’s knowledge and skill, in addition to the necessary changes to your lifestyle that you are willing to make. Although Infrared Coagulation can be costly, it less costly than surgical procedures and less costly still than the certain consequences you will experience letting your hemorrhoidal condition go untreated. Whatever course of action you decide upon be sure to properly arm yourself with all of the information at your disposal, to ensure the correct intervention for yourself is in fact Infrared Coagulation.
written by David Gilbert
© 2009 Hemorrhoid Information Center