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Hemorrhoid Embolization vs Hemorrhoidectomy

Posted on December 05, 2023

Are you choosing between hemorrhoid embolization and hemorrhoidectomy? Remember, though both are treatment options for hemorrhoids, they are very different procedures in terms of invasiveness, complication risk and recovery period. Yet, despite their differences, both procedures offer similar success rates when it comes to hemorrhoid relief! So, how can you choose the right treatment? Keep reading to learn more.

Hemorrhoids by the Numbers

Symptomatic hemorrhoids are enlarged veins that form in your rectum and/or in the anus. Your hemorrhoids may be internal (located in the lower rectum, above the anus); external (located around the anus); or thrombosed (either internal or external, but containing a blood clot.)

If you want to find relief from hemorrhoids, you'll need to know the severity of your condition, determined by a grade number, since this classification will help guide your treatment choices.

  • Grade 1 hemorrhoids are small, unpalpable and typically not visible. They can still cause bleeding during bowel movements but are unlikely to cause other symptoms.

  • Grade 2 hemorrhoids may protrude outside your anus during bowel movements, but typically return inside afterward. Symptoms include pain, discomfort, itching and bleeding.

  • Grade 3 hemorrhoids bulge outside the anal canal, only returning inside with physical manipulation. They also cause pain, bleeding, and itching.

  • Grade 4 symptomatic hemorrhoids are severely prolapsed and won’t stay inside the anal canal even when manually repositioned. Symptoms are also severe.  

Understanding hemorrhoid embolization

Hemorrhoid embolization, also called hemorrhoid artery embolization (HAE) is a non-surgical hemorrhoid treatment. This minimally invasive procedure comes with a high success rate, reduced discomfort, a faster recovery period and a reduced risk for complications.

HAE is a great treatment option for patients with grade 2-3 internal hemorrhoids who have significant discomfort. The procedure is performed after inserting a small catheter into the arteries that deliver blood to your hemorrhoids. Next, our Georgia hemorrhoid specialists inject material that blocks the arteries and cuts off blood flow to the hemorrhoids. Without that blood flow, the hemorrhoids shrink until they disappear.

Hemorrhoidectomy: what's involved?

During a hemorrhoidectomy, surgeons physically excise your hemorrhoids. This procedure is usually reserved for people with grade 3 or 4 hemorrhoids and severe symptoms, since the surgery has a high risk for complications that include bleeding, urine retention, urinary tract infections, fecal impaction or fecal incontinence.

Hemorrhoid embolization vs hemorrhoidectomy success rates

Hemorrhoidectomy has a 95% success rate at treating severe hemorrhoids. But the procedure also often causes serious complications and requires an extensive recovery procedure.

In contrast, HAE effectively treats hemorrhoids, with clinical studies consistently demonstrating its high success rate for treating internal grade 2-3 hemorrhoids, effectively reducing bleeding, itching, and discomfort while significantly improving your overall quality of life.

Even better? Compared to hemorrhoidectomy, HAE has a lower complication risk. It’s also commonly performed on an outpatient basis, allowing you to avoid an overnight hospital stay. And, because it’s a minimally invasive discomfort, HAE also minimizes your discomfort and recovery period. Finally, HAE is a more affordable treatment option, since it allows you to avoid long hospital stays.

So, if you have a choice between hemorrhoid embolization vs hemorrhoidectomy, which one should you choose? Well, if you have grade 2 or 3 hemorrhoids, here’s your answer: the relief they provide is likely to be the same, but the cost, pain and risk for complications is much lower for HAE than for hemorrhoidectomy.

Ready to find out if you’re a candidate for HAE in Georgia? Click here to request an appointment

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