Rubber band ligation
is a procedure in which the hemorrhoid is
tied off at its base with rubber bands,
cutting off the blood flow to the
To perform the procedure, a doctor inserts a viewing instrument (anoscope) into the anus. The hemorrhoid is grasped with an instrument, and a device places a rubber band around the base of the hemorrhoid. The hemorrhoid then shrinks and dies and, in about a week, falls off.
A scar will form in place of the hemorrhoid, holding nearby veins so they don't bulge into the anal canal.
The procedure is done in a doctor's office and rarely in surgery center. You will be asked whether the rubber bands feel too tight. If the bands are extremely painful, a medicine may be injected into the banded hemorrhoids to numb them.
After the procedure, you may feel pain and have a sensation of fullness in the lower abdomen. Or you may feel as if you need to have a bowel movement.
Treatment is limited to 1 to 2 hemorrhoids at a time if done in the doctor's office.
What To Expect After TreatmentPeople respond differently to this procedure. Some are able to return to regular activities (but avoid heavy lifting) almost immediately.
- Pain is likely for 24 to 48 hours after rubber band ligation. You may use acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol) and sit in a shallow tub of warm water (sitz bath) for 15 minutes at a time to relieve discomfort.
- To reduce the risk of bleeding, avoid taking aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for 4 to 5 days both before and after rubber band ligation.
- Bleeding may occur a few days after surgery, when the hemorrhoid falls off. Bleeding is usually slight and stops by itself.
Doctors recommend that you take stool softeners containing fiber and drink more fluids to ensure smooth bowel movements. Straining during bowel movements can cause hemorrhoids to come back.
Why It Is DoneRubber band ligation is the most widely used treatment for internal hemorrhoids. If symptoms persist after three or four treatments, surgery may be considered.
How Well It WorksRubber band ligation works for about 7 to 9 out of 10 people who have it. People who have this treatment are less likely to need another treatment compared to people who have coagulation treatments. About 1 out of 10 people may need surgery.
RisksSide effects are rare but include:
- Severe pain that does not respond to the methods of pain relief used after this procedure. The bands may be too close to the area in the anal canal that contains pain sensors
- Bleeding from the anus.
- Inability to pass urine (urinary retention).
- Infection in the anal area.
Learn more about hemorrhoids at CRH O'Regan System.