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International journal of colorectal disease

Hemorrhoid management in patients with radiation proctitis.


PMID 22714783

Abstract

Management of rectal bleeding in patients with radiation proctitis presents a conundrum for practitioners. Surgeons are appropriately concerned about using conventional methods of treatment in these patients, such as cautery for bleeding areas in the rectum, rubber band ligation, or excision of internal and/or external hemorrhoids, for fear of poor healing and possible exacerbation of the original problem. Few randomized controlled trials are available on the treatment of radiation proctitis alone, and no literature exists pertaining to the management of symptomatic hemorrhoids in the radiated patient. In the absence of observational studies, the authors created an email survey to distribute to the membership of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons in order to try to identify current management practices for radiation proctitis and for the treatment of their symptomatic hemorrhoids. Of the 327 respondents, 85 % favored the use of topical formalin to treat radiation proctitis, while 42 % additionally used argon plasma coagulation. Only 25 % of practitioners report using sucralfate, though existing data on this therapy are promising. Regarding the management of hemorrhoids in patients with a history of rectal irradiation, 55 % of respondents hoped treatment of radiation proctitis alone would solve the problem. Forty-three percent reported using rubber band ligation, 30 % using hemorrhoidectomy, and 18 % using sclerotherapy. While most respondents treated radiation proctitis alone in patients with symptomatic hemorrhoids, many also felt rubber band ligation, hemorrhoidectomy, and sclerotherapy are safe and effective alternative therapies in this population.

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