1. How it was previously done
In the days before lasers were introduced to surgical techniques for treating hemorrhoids, the only option when it came to removing them was the knife.
In the 1930s, the ‘gold standard’ treatment for surgically removing hemorrhoids was developed in th UK. Known as the Milligan-Morgan Technique, the hemorrhoids are cut away, leaving a pear shaped incision which is then left unstitched. Over a period of 5-6 weeks, healing progresses and the open wound Is covered by growth of skin in the area. Leaving the wounds open helps prevent anal stenosis (restriction of the anal/rectal opening due to development of scar tissue) – a common side effect of the process of surgical removal of hemorrhoids.
2. What came next
In 1952 the Ferguson Technique was developed. This was the same as the Milligan-Morgan method, except that the incisions are closed with stitches. Anal stenosis is more common when this technique is used, however the benefits are faster healing and fewer cases of infection of the open wound. Pain is also reduced.
Both the above treatments involve the cutting by human hand to remove unwanted tissues.
3. Laser surgery – the modern miracle
Laser surgery has the advantage of being more accurate, and in the right hands, laser surgery can be used to perform miracles. Hemorrhoidal tissues are simply evaporated into the air, layer by layer, guided by the surgeon’s hand. The pinpoint accuracy with which the laser can be operated means that only the necessary tissue need be removed. Healing time is shorter than when compared to standard surgical methods (cutterags), although this is not the fast healing process available.
4. Rapid, unimpaired healing
The pinpoint accuracy of laser surgery results in rapid, unimpaired healing. This in turn results in the need for less medication, a shorter stay in hospital, and the knowledge that the surgical environment is as sterile as possible. The laser heat-seals tiny blood vessels and the superficial nerve endings in the area of surgery.
5. Laser surgery can be combined with other techniques
Laser surgery can be combined with other modular techniques of hemorrhoid removal. One example of this is the combination of laser and Harmonic Scalpel during the procedure. A combination of the two – leading to best effect is commonly practiced.
The Harmonic scalpel seals blood vessels by means of ultrasound. This takes place due to the coagulation of the proteins when combined with high frequency ultrasound. The coagulation has the effect of sealing off the larger vessels.
The use of ultrasound scalpels coupled with pinpoint laser vaporization leads to the fastest, least painful method of surgery for hemorrhoids.
6. Hemorrhoids can return, no matter how good the surgical technique
The best medical treatment in the world will not permanently solve the problem of hemorrhoids unless action is taken to improve the diet to reduce or remove the cause of the problem. Lifestyle and dietary changes are almost always prescribed after surgery.