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Learning About Rubber Band Ligation for Hemorrhoids

Picture of internal and external hemorrhoids

What is rubber band ligation?

Rubber band ligation treats hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the rectal area. In most cases, this procedure can be done in the doctor's office. Your doctor can treat one or two hemorrhoids at a time. This treatment is only for internal hemorrhoids.

How is this procedure done?

Your doctor will insert a viewing scope (anoscope) into your anus. The hemorrhoid is grasped with a small tool. Then a device places a rubber band around the base of the hemorrhoid. This stops blood flow to the hemorrhoids. The hemorrhoids shrink and fall off 7 to 10 days after the procedure.

You will be awake during the procedure. You may feel some discomfort. You will be asked if the rubber bands feel too tight. If the bands are too painful, a medicine may be injected into the banded hemorrhoids to numb them.

You will be able to go home right after the procedure.

What can you expect after the procedure?

After the procedure, you may feel pain and have a feeling of fullness in your lower belly. Or you may feel as if you need to have a bowel movement. This usually goes away after several days. You may need pain medicine during this time.

You may have a small amount of bleeding from your anus about 7 to 10 days after surgery, when your hemorrhoid falls off. This is normal.

Some people are able to return to regular activities right away. Others may need to take a few days off from work.

You will need to avoid heavy lifting and straining with bowel movements while you recover.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Where can you learn more?

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