What is SRAE?
Superior rectal artery embolization (SRAE) is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat chronic hemorrhoids, a condition characterized by swollen and inflamed blood vessels in the rectal area. SRAE is primarily performed as an alternative to traditional surgical interventions such as hemorrhoidectomy.
How does SRAE treat hemorrhoids?
During the SRAE procedure a tiny catheter is precisely guided from an artery in the wrist or inguinal region until it reaches the superior rectal artery, which supplies blood to the hemorrhoids. Once the catheter is in position, embolic agents, such as small particles or coils, are injected into the artery to block the blood flow to the hemorrhoids. By blocking the blood supply to the hemorrhoidal tissue, SRAE causes the hemorrhoids to shrink and eventually resolve. The procedure is typically performed under moderate sedation with the patient asleep. SRAE is generally considered a safe and effective treatment option for symptomatic hemorrhoids, offering a shorter recovery time and potentially fewer complications compared to traditional surgery.
What is the research on SRAE?
Various studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of SRAE in the treatment of hemorrhoids. These studies have shown that SRAE can effectively reduce the size of hemorrhoids, relieve symptoms, and improve patients’ quality of life. Other studies have compared SRAE with other treatment modalities, such as rubber band ligation or hemorrhoidectomy. These studies suggest that SRAE may offer similar effectiveness in reducing symptoms and improving hemorrhoid-related quality of life compared to traditional surgical interventions without the risks and side-effects associated with surgery.
What are Hemorrhoids?
- Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the rectum. They can cause itching, bleeding, and pain. Hemorrhoids are very common.
Who is at risk?
Those who are:
- 50 years old+
- Straining during bowel movements
- Eating a low fiber diet
What does the research say?
- Hemorrhoids, a prevalent condition affecting around 4-5% of individuals, can be caused by factors like chronic constipation, straining during bowel movements, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and pregnancy. Symptoms vary in intensity and can include rectal bleeding, itching, pain, and swelling. Treatment options encompass conservative measures such as dietary adjustments and lifestyle modifications, as well as medical interventions and surgical procedures. Adopting preventive measures like a fiber-rich diet and healthy bowel habits is crucial. Ongoing research seeks to enhance treatment methods and enhance long-term management approaches.
Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
Common Symptoms Associated with Hemorrhoids
- None – many people with hemorrhoids have no symptoms.
- Itching of the skin around the anus
- Bright red blood after using the toilet which is often painless
- Pain if a blood clot forms inside a hemorrhoid. In this case, you may also feel a lump
- Swelling of hemorrhoids outside of the rectum (prolapse) during a bowel movement
Hemorrhoid Treatment: Superior Rectal Artery Embolization (SRAE)
Superior Rectal Artery Embolization (SRAE) is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the rectum and anus that can cause discomfort, bleeding, and pain.
During the SRAE procedure, an interventional radiologist inserts a small catheter into the artery from the groin or wrist and navigates it to the superior rectal artery, which supplies blood to the hemorrhoids. Once the catheter is in place, the radiologist places small metallic coils or medical beads into the artery to block blood flow to the hemorrhoids.
Without blood flow, the hemorrhoids shrink and eventually disappear. SRAE is a safe and effective treatment option for hemorrhoids, with high success rates and minimal complications. Patients typically experience little to no pain after the procedure and can return to their normal activities within a few days.
SRAE is an attractive option for patients who have failed to find relief with traditional treatments, such as creams, ointments, and suppositories, or who do not want to undergo surgery.
Superior rectal artery embolization (SRAE) has several benefits for the treatment of hemorrhoids, including:
- Minimally invasive: SRAE is a minimally invasive procedure, which means it is performed using a small incision and does not require general anesthesia. This results in a shorter hospital stay and a faster recovery time than traditional surgery.
- High success rates: SRAE has high success rates in treating hemorrhoids, with studies reporting success rates of up to 90%. This means that most patients experience significant improvement in their symptoms after the procedure.
- Minimal pain and discomfort: SRAE is associated with minimal pain and discomfort compared to traditional surgery, and patients typically require only mild pain medication after the procedure.
- Reduced risk of complications: SRAE has a lower risk of complications compared to traditional surgery, such as bleeding, infection, and incontinence.
- Suitable for all types of hemorrhoids: SRAE can be used to treat all types of hemorrhoids, including internal, external, and mixed hemorrhoids.
- Outpatient procedure: SRAE can be performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning that patients can return home the same day as the procedure.
- Quick recovery time: Most patients can return to their normal activities within a few days after the procedure, which is significantly faster than traditional surgery.
Overall, SRAE is a safe and effective treatment option for hemorrhoids that offers several benefits over traditional surgery, including minimal pain and discomfort, reduced risk of complications, and a faster recovery time.
Is a Superior Rectal Artery Embolization (SRAE) Right for Me?
Superior Rectal Artery Embolization (SRAE) is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat severe cases of hemorrhoids.
You may be a candidate if:
- You have pain from hemorrhoids
- You have bleeding from hemorrhoids
- You feel dilated veins in your anus
- Do not want surgery
Benefits of Superior Rectal Artery Embolization (SRAE)
- Non-Surgical Approach: SRAE is a non-surgical alternative to traditional hemorrhoid treatments like surgery. It involves blocking the blood supply to the hemorrhoidal tissue, leading to its shrinkage and alleviation of symptoms.
- Effective Hemorrhoid Reduction: SRAE has shown promising results in reducing the size and symptoms of hemorrhoids. It can provide relief from rectal bleeding, pain, and swelling associated with severe hemorrhoids.
- Minimally Invasive: SRAE is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed under local anesthesia. It involves inserting a catheter into the blood vessels supplying the hemorrhoidal tissue and delivering small particles or coils to block the blood flow.
- Shorter Recovery Time: Compared to traditional surgery, SRAE typically offers a shorter recovery period. Patients may experience minimal discomfort and can resume their normal activities relatively quickly.
Risks and Considerations of Superior Rectal Artery Embolization (SRAE)
- Infection and Bleeding: As with any medical procedure, there is a risk of infection and bleeding at the site of catheter insertion. However, these complications are relatively rare.
- Allergic Reactions: Some patients may have an allergic reaction to the contrast dye used during the procedure. It is important to inform the healthcare provider about any known allergies beforehand.
- Tissue Necrosis: In rare cases, the blocked blood supply to the hemorrhoidal tissue may lead to tissue necrosis or death. However, proper patient selection and skilled medical professionals minimize this risk.
- Limited Availability: SRAE is a specialized procedure that may not be widely available in all healthcare settings. It is important to consult with a vascular expert or specialist experienced in performing SRAE.
>Other Treatment Options for Hemorrhoids