Hemorrhoidal Artery Embolization
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Hemorrhoidal Artery Embolization

Hemorrhoidal Artery Embolization (HAE) is a non-surgical alternative to traditional hemorrhoid treatment, such as hemorrhoidal dearterialization. The procedure offers long-lasting relief and has an exceptionally high success rate. It can be performed separate from, or in conjunction with, hemorrhoid banding procedure (typically performed by a gastrointestinal specialist).

Our team of specially trained interventional radiologists at Vascular and Interventional Partners in Scottsdale, AZ, performs hemorrhoidal artery embolization on an outpatient basis. As a nonsurgical, minimally invasive treatment option, HAE comes with very low risks and requires minimal downtime. If you were diagnosed with internal hemorrhoids and are continuing to struggle despite more traditional treatment, HAE can help decrease future bleeding episodes and improve your quality of life.

What Is Hemorrhoidal Artery Embolization?

Your anal canal has external and internal vascular structures, including veins that help drain blood flow. When these veins become inflamed and enlarged, they are referred to as "hemorrhoids."

Hemorrhoids can be external or internal, depending on how deep they are positioned in the anal canal. Several more common symptoms that patients experience with hemorrhoids include:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Rectal pain or itching
  • Swelling around the anus
  • Fecal leakage
What Is Hemorrhoidal Artery Embolization?

Hemorrhoids typically resolve on their own and with home remedies like high-fiber diets, exercising and hemorrhoid creams. But if they become severe and chronic, especially in cases of internal hemorrhoids, they can be treated either with endoscopic procedures or hemorrhoidal artery embolization.

Hemorrhoidal artery embolization (HAE), also called hemorrhoid embolization or “emborrhoid” technique, is a type of interventional radiology (IR) procedure for internal hemorrhoids. Like all IR procedures, HAE is catheter-based, meaning doctors use catheters rather than make large incisions to treat diseases. Embolization is a type of IR procedure that works primarily by cutting off blood supply to the hemorrhoids.

HAE has a high success rate (80-90 percent) and rarely leads to complications. There is no large surgical incision required for this procedure (only a tiny pinhole incision in the skin), and downtime is fairly short.

What to Expect During Hemorrhoidal Artery Embolization

Before your procedure, our team will look at your medical history and current health to help determine your candidacy for HAE. You will have the opportunity to meet with one of our interventional radiologists, who will discuss what to anticipate during every stage of the process.

Being minimally invasive, HAE is performed under local anesthesia and moderate sedation. During an HAE procedure, an interventional radiologist makes a small puncture in the upper leg to insert a thin catheter into an artery. Using real-time x-ray image guidance, they then guide this catheter to the affected area. Once the end of the catheter has reached the affected hemorrhoid, the radiologist releases tiny coils into the hemorrhoid to block blood flow to it and stop bleeding and pain.

Once the procedure is complete, the specialist removes the catheter and applies pressure to the puncture site to stop bleeding. The whole process takes 45 minutes to an hour to complete. Patients are discharged on the same day of the procedure and can resume work the following day in most cases.

How to Prepare

How to Prepare

During one of your appointments at Vascular and Interventional Partners in Phoenix, AZ, we will provide you with detailed instructions on how to prepare for this procedure.

Be ready to undergo routine preoperative testing in the weeks to days before your procedure, including blood work and CT angiography.

Usually, we ask patients to stop taking blood-thinning medication and supplements, like Aspirin, Warfarin and vitamin E, for a couple of days before the procedure. This is to avoid uncontrolled bleeding at the puncture site. You may also be asked to avoid all food and drink the night before your procedure, although this isn't always necessary.

We also suggest having someone ready to drive you home upon your discharge.

Benefits
vs
Risks

Like most medical procedures, a hemorrhoid embolization comes with many benefits but also certain risks.

Benefits
  • As a non-surgical procedure, there is no need for incisions, stitches, and general anesthesia
  • Recovery is quick, with most patients resuming normal day-to-day activity the next day
  • Very low risk of infection and other complications
  • Minimal blood loss and no pain
  • Can be performed with complimentary treatments if needed
Risks
  • Bruising or prolonged bleeding at the puncture site.
  • Mild discomfort in the days following treatment
  • The dye used for x-ray image guidance can cause kidney injury in patients with kidney disease

Learn More

At Vascular and Interventional Partners, we know that internal hemorrhoids can cause uncomfortable symptoms and bleeding and reduce a person's quality of life. To learn more about this procedure and find out if it's right for you, contact or call us today at (480) 435-9100.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What causes hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids often result from pressure in the rectum. Things that cause this pressure include constipation, chronic diarrhea, straining during bowel movements, pregnancy and obesity.

Who is a good candidate for hemorrhoid embolization?

People with grade 2 or 3 internal hemorrhoids and who have not found success with other treatments are ideal candidates for hemorrhoid embolization. It may also be an excellent alternative for patients who cannot undergo major surgery.

Who is not a good fit for hemorrhoid embolization?

People with severe internal hemorrhoids (grade 4), hemorrhoidal complications and who have previously undergone colorectal surgery should not undergo hemorrhoid embolization. People with anal fissures and allergies to any of the materials used in this procedure are also not viable candidates.

How successful is hemorrhoid embolization?

Around 90 percent of hemorrhoid embolization procedures are carried out successfully without any complications. Around 80 percent of treated patients find that their symptoms improved following this treatment.