Doppler-Guided Hemorrhoidal Artery Ligation and Rectoanal Repair (HAL-RAR) for the Treatment of Grade IV Hemorrhoids: Long-Term Results in 100 Consecutive Patients

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Doppler-guided hemorrhoidal artery ligation is a minimally invasive technique for the treatment of symptomatic hemorrhoids that has been applied successfully for grade II and III hemorrhoids but is less effective for grade IV hemorrhoids. Development of a special proctoscope enabled the combination of hemorrhoidal artery ligation with transanal rectoanal repair (mucopexy), which serves to lift and then secure the protruding hemorrhoids in place.

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was to describe our experience with this combined procedure in the treatment of grade IV hemorrhoids.

DESIGN:

Prospective observational study.

SETTING:

Outpatient colorectal surgery unit.

PATIENTS:

Consecutive patients with grade IV hemorrhoids treated from April 2006 to December 2008.

INTERVENTION:

Hemorrhoidal artery ligation–rectoanal repair.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Operating time, number of ligations, number of mucopexies and associated procedures, and postoperative symptoms were recorded. Pain was graded on a visual analog scale. Follow-up was at 2, 6, and 12 months after surgery, and then annually.

RESULTS:

A total of 100 consecutive patients (64 women, 36 men) with grade IV hemorrhoids were included. Preoperative symptoms were bleeding in 80 and pain in 71 patients; 19 patients had undergone previous surgical treatment for the disease. The mean operative time was 35 (range, 17–60) minutes, with a mean of 9 (range, 4–14) ligations placed per patient. Eighty-four patients were discharged on the day of the operation. Nine patients developed early postoperative complications: pain in 6, bleeding in 4, dyschezia in 1, and thrombosis of residual hemorrhoids in 3. Late complications occurred in 4 patients and were managed conservatively. Recurrence was observed in 9 patients (9%), with a mean follow-up of 34 (range, 14–42) months.

LIMITATIONS:

The 2 main weaknesses of the study were the lack of very long-term follow-up and the absence of a comparison with hemorrhoidectomy or hemorrhoidopexy.

CONCLUSION:

Doppler-guided hemorrhoidal artery ligation with rectoanal repair is safe, easy to perform, and should be considered as an effective option for the treatment of grade IV hemorrhoids.

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