Hemorrhoidal artery embolization is a new minimally invasive treatment of internal hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoidal artery embolization is also known as HAE. HAE is a new minimally invasive treatment of internal hemorrhoids, which avoids the traditional approach through the rectum. For patients who find themselves faced with potentially undergoing hemorrhoid surgery, this may be an option.
What Are Internal Hemorrhoids
Internal hemorrhoids are the most commonly encountered medical issue of the rectum, which is the last portion of the large intestines. At the end of the rectum, there is vascular net like structure in the wall called the corpus cavernosum rectii. This area plays a key role in anorectal continence. It is supplied mostly by a set of rectal arteries. Reducing the blood flow in these arteries, which supply the hemorrhoids, is how HAE works.
For most patients with hemorrhoids, conservative measures and lifestyle modifications are effective. If these measures are ineffective, more traditional surgical measures may be suggested. Given the pain, lengthy recovery, and potential complications of surgery, there is a role for a minimally invasive surgical alternative.
Hemorrhoidal Artery Embolization Technique
HAE is performed by an interventional radiologist (IR), a physician subspecialized in advanced procedures using mostly x-rays or ultrasound. It is done in a doctor’s office as an outpatient. A patient will undergo an x-ray dye procedure of the last portion of the intestines and pelvis to identify the arteries contributing to the hemorrhoids. Those arteries will be injected with either small soft plastic beads or small metallic occlusion devices called coils, which block off the artery. This will reduce the blood flow to the hemorrhoids causing it to shrink and bleed less. So far, the studies show that around 80 percent of the patients show significant improvement in their symptoms.
Advantages of HAE
There are several reasons HAE may be right for a patient. It does not carry the risk of rectal incontinence like traditional surgical techniques. It is performed through a pinhole in the femoral artery instead of requiring access to the rectum through the anus. Also, it can be offered to patients who are not the best surgical candidates, like those with inflammatory bowel disease, previous radiation, or those already struggling with incontinence.
At Summit IR, we know that dealing with hemorrhoids can be a troubling medical condition that can cause physical as well as psychosocial stresses. Treating patients with a holistic approach is our foremost consideration, and we would be delighted to assist you. Contact us today.