Efforts continue to improve the treatment of patients with symptomatic hemorrhoidal disease by interventions designed to improve efficiency and effectiveness, including by reducing intraoperative and postoperative pain, decreasing operating times, minimizing blood loss and controlling symptoms and recurrence rates. Simultaneously, there are also renewed efforts to minimize the number of patients who will require procedural intervention by focusing on conservative measures that encourage better bowel regulation and habits. The purpose of this brief report is to review the current status of the diagnosis and treatment of patients with hemorrhoidal disease. Overall, new procedures or procedural refinements to existing techniques continue to be introduced with promising short-term outcomes – at least in some instances. In most instances, long-term follow-up or equivalency data are still being accumulated such that a definitive, unequivocal answer to what is truly the best alternative to traditional hemorrhoidectomy remains controversial. One of the challenges is heterogeneity as regards diagnosis, intervention and, especially, outcomes measures such that comparing therapies is too difficult. A recent initiative to standardize metrics has promise.
Recent studies largely appear to suggest that conservative treatment approaches and managing patient expectations are critically important in which a primary objective should be to minimize the progression to symptomatic disease and complications in patients who are diagnosed with hemorrhoids. The pace of change as regards the development of new or improved surgical techniques appears may be accelerating.
Progress is being made and the knowledge base is being expanded as regards the treatment options for patients with hemorrhoids and expected outcomes. A key initiative to standardize the approaches to diagnosis and treatment about staging, procedural interventions and outcomes will facilitate comparative analytics, if successful.
Departments of Surgery, Preventive Medicine and Community Health and the Institute for Translational Science, School of Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, USA
Correspondence to Danny O. Jacobs, MD, MPH, FACS, School of Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Boulevard, Galveston, Texas 77555-0133, USA. Tel: +1 409 772 4793; fax: +1 409 772 9598; e-mail: email@example.com