, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 312-317
Date: 27 Nov 2006

Early results of the treatment of internal hemorrhoid disease by infrared coagulation and elastic banding: a prospective randomized cross-over trial

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Rubber band ligation (RBL) is probably the most commonly performed nonsurgical therapy for hemorrhoidal disease. Infrared coagulation (IRC) is one of the most recent advances based on the use of “heat”. Recent studies have demonstrated similar efficacy for both modalities. This prospective randomized crossover trial compared IRC and RBL for pain, complications, effectiveness, and patient satisfaction and preference in the treatment of internal hemorrhoids (IH).


Patients were randomized to receive either RBL (Group A) or IRC (Group B) for treatment of the first hemorrhoid; in a second procedure two weeks later, patients underwent the other procedure on the second hemorrhoid, thereby serving as their own control. The procedure preferred by the patient was employed two weeks later for the third hemorrhoid. Post-treatment pain was evaluated on a visual analog scale and on the basis of the percentage of patients requiring analgesics. Bleeding and early outcome of treatment were also recorded, together with the patient’s satisfaction.


A total of 94 patients were included in this study (47 patients in each group). At 30 minutes and 6 hours after treatment, pain scores were significantly higher in patients treated with RBL than in those treated with IRC (p<0.01). There was no significant difference in pain scores between the two procedures immediately and 24 hours after the procedures (p<0.05). After 72 hours and one week, the pain scores for RBL and IRC were similar. The percentage of patients using analgesics was significantly higher in RBL group than in IRC group at 6 hours (29.6% vs. 19.2%, respectively; p<0.05) and 24 hours (22.5% vs. 13.5%, respectively; p<0.05) after treatment. However, significant differences were not noted at 72 hours (12.7% vs. 6.4%; p<0.05) and one week (5.6% vs. 7.1%; p>0.05) after the procedures. There were significantly higher incidences of bleeding immediately, 6 hours, and 24 hours after RBL compared to IRC (immediate: 32.4% vs. 4.3%; 6 hours: 13.4% vs. 3.6%, 24 hours: 26.8% vs. 10.2%, respectively; p<0.01). However, there were no significant differences noted regarding the incidence of bleeding between the two groups at 72 hours. Complications were more likely after RBL than IRC, however this difference was not significant (p>0.05). Overall, 91 patients (96.8%) were successfully treated and 93 patients (99%) were very satisfied with the treatment. In the third treatment session, 50% of patients selected RBL and 50% chose IRC.


Both RBL and IRC were well-accepted and highly efficacious methods for the treatment of IH; in addition, both procedures were associated with relatively minor complications. However, RBL was associated with more pain than IRC in the 24-hour postoperative period.