What is Hemorrhoid Embolization (HAE)?
Hemorrhoid embolization is an interventional radiology treatment for internal hemorrhoids that offers long-lasting relief from rectal bleeding. Hemorrhoids form when abnormal connections are made between arteries and veins in the rectum. Embolization works by blocking these abnormal blood vessel connections, which eliminates the bleeding.
An Interventional Radiologist performs this minimally invasive procedure under local anesthesia and moderate sedation in patients with internal hemorrhoids of grade one, two or three. Internal hemorrhoids are composed of a dense arteriovenous network called Corpus Cavernosum Recti (CCR). The embolization of the hemorrhoidal artery aims to reduce the blood flow in the CCR thus reducing the venous pressure and symptoms.
The procedure is performed through a needle hole in the wrist or the groin through which a thin catheter is inserted into the rectal artery under x-ray guidance. The catheter is guided through the superior rectal artery tree to the terminal branches while the Interventional Radiologist watches the progress of the procedure using moving x-ray (fluoroscope).
Small coils and/or microspheres are placed into the terminal branches of the arteries to seal the vessels. It may be necessary to repeat the embolization for hemorrhoids on the opposite side, through the same opening and using the same catheter and microcatheter combination.
Hemorrhoidal artery coil embolization is a painless technique. The procedure is approximately 45 minutes. After the procedure, patients can return home the same day, and back to work the following day in most situations.