Infrared Photocoagulation for Hemorrhoids: Before Your Procedure

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Internal and external hemorrhoids

What is infrared photocoagulation?

Infrared photocoagulation treats hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the rectal area. This treatment is only for internal hemorrhoids.

To do the procedure, your doctor uses a beam of infrared light. The light creates heat that scars hemorrhoids and cuts off their blood flow. They shrink and fall off in 7 to 10 days.

Most of the time, this procedure is done in the doctor's office. Your doctor will treat one hemorrhoid at a time. You may feel heat and some pain. It takes about 30 minutes.

Make sure not to lift anything heavy until you heal. It's also important not to strain when you have a bowel movement.

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 call line 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.

What happens before the procedure?

Preparing for the procedure

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    Understand exactly what procedure is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell your doctors ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with anesthesia.
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    If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if you should stop taking these medicines before your procedure. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
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    Your doctor will tell you which medicines to take or stop before your procedure. You may need to stop taking certain medicines a week or more before the procedure. So talk to your doctor as soon as you can.
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    If you have an advance care plan, let your doctor know. Bring a copy to the hospital. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets your doctor and loved ones know your health care wishes. Doctors advise that everyone prepare these papers before any type of surgery or procedure.
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    You may need to empty your colon with an enema or laxative. Your doctor will tell you how to do this.

Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.

What happens on the day of the procedure?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your procedure may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of the procedure, take them with only a sip of water.
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    Take a bath or shower before you come in for your procedure. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
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    Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the doctor's office

  • Bring a picture ID.
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    You will be awake during the procedure. You may get medicine that relaxes you.
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    The procedure will take about 30 minutes.
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    You will be able to go home right after the procedure.

Going home

  • Be sure you have someone to drive you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine make it unsafe for you to drive.
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    You will be given more specific instructions about recovering from your procedure. They will cover things like diet, wound care, follow-up care, driving, and getting back to your normal routine.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your procedure.
  • You become ill before the procedure (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the procedure.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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