Learning About Infrared Photocoagulation for Hemorrhoids

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Internal and external hemorrhoids

What is infrared photocoagulation?

Infrared photocoagulation treats hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the rectal area. In most cases, this procedure can be done in the doctor's office. Only one hemorrhoid can be treated at a time. This treatment is only for internal hemorrhoids.

How is this procedure done?

During the procedure, your doctor uses an intense beam of infrared light. The light creates heat that scars the hemorrhoid. This stops blood flow to the hemorrhoids. The hemorrhoids shrink and fall off 7 to 10 days after the procedure.

You may feel heat and some pain during the procedure.

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

What can you expect after this 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.

You will probably 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 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?

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

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.