Since its introduction 20 years ago, infrared coagulation (IRC) has become the world’s leading office treatment for hemorrhoids. This non-surgical treatment is fast, well tolerated, and remarkably complication-free. A small probe is placed above the hemorrhoid and a few short bursts of infrared light are applied. The infrared light quickly coagulates the vessels that provide the hemorrhoid with blood, causing the hemorrhoids to shrink and recede. Shrinkage of the hemorrhoidal tissues may take a few weeks.
DOES IT HURT?
While patient sensitivity may vary, most patients report feeling a brief sensation of heat, but not acute pain. Local anesthesia is usually not required.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT KINDS OF HEMORRHOIDS?
Yes. “Internal” hemorrhoids develop inside the anus. The most common symptoms are bleeding during bowel movements or protrusion through the anus upon straining. “External” hemorrhoids develop around the anus and can be very painful, especially if a blood clot develops within them. They can be felt as a firm lump or lumps around the anus.
ARE THERE ANY AFTER-EFFECTS?
Typically, there are no post-treatment effects. Most patients return to a normal lifestyle the same day. There may be slight spot bleeding a few days later. Heavy straining or lifting should be avoided and aspirin should not be taken for a few days.
HOW MANY VISITS ARE REQUIRED?
Only your doctor can make that determination. The number of treatments will depend on the severity of symptoms, location of the hemorrhoids, and the patient’s individual response to the procedure.
WILL THE HEMORRHOIDS COME BACK?
Millions of patients have been treated with IRC. Experience tells us that hemorrhoids treated with IRC generally do not reoccur. A sensible diet, moderate exercise, and proper bowel habits will also help.