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The purpose of this study was to assess whether any method of hemorrhoid therapy has been shown to be superior in randomized, controlled trials.A meta-analysis was performed of all randomized, controlled trials assessing two or more treatment modalities for symptomatic hemorrhoids. Outcome variables included response to therapy, need for further therapy, complications, and pain.A total of 18 trials were available for analysis. Hemorrhoidectomy was found to be significantly more effective than manual dilation of the anus (P=0.0017), with less need for further therapy (P=0.034), no significant difference in complications (P=0.60), but significantly more pain (P< 0.0001). Patients undergoing hemorrhoidectomy had a better response to treatment than did patients treated with rubber band ligation (P=0.001), although complications were greater (P=0.02) as was pain (P< 0.0001). Rubber band ligation was better than sclerotherapy in response to treatment for all hemorrhoids (P=0.005) as well as for hemorrhoids stratified by grade (Grades 1 to 2; P=0.007; Grade 3 hemorrhoids, P=0.042), with no difference in the complication rate (P=0.35). Patients treated with sclerotherapy (P=0.031) or infrared coagulation (P=0.0014) were more likely to require further therapy than those treated with rubber band ligation, although pain was greater after rubber band ligation (P=0.03 for sclerotherapy; P< 0.0001 for infrared coagulation).Rubber band ligation is recommended as the initial mode of therapy for Grades 1 to 3 hemorrhoids. Although hemorrhoidectomy showed better response rates, it is associated with more complications and pain than rubber band ligation, thus should be reserved for patients who fail to respond to rubber band ligation.