Retained Needle Following Transanal Hemorrhoidal Dearterialization

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A needle was retained during transanal hemorrhoidal dearterialization. This rare complication has not been described before.


A spinal needle was inserted from the perianal skin to localize the retained foreign body that was located at 7 cm from the anal margin. A decision was made to proceed to intersphincteric dissection, and a 3-cm incision was made in the perianal skin from 2 to 4 o’clock. Deep pararectal dissection continued, and the needle was eventually found lying in the muscular layer, parallel to the plane of the dissection.


The needle was retrieved intact, and repeat x-ray confirmed that no foreign body was retained. The patient made an uneventful recovery and was discharged home on postoperative day 1 with a 5-day course of oral antibiotics; she was examined in clinic 4 weeks following surgery and reported significant symptomatic improvement with no perianal pain or rectal bleeding. No anal fistula was found on the examination.


X-ray guidance is a helpful adjunct to facilitate 3-dimensional localization. Intersphincteric dissection is a reliable alternative to the transanal approach, particularly when the needle cannot be seen arising from the mucosa or felt on palpation. Repeated attempts to palpate the needle should be avoided, because there is a potential risk of displacing it deeper or higher, making retrieval more difficult.

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