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Hemorrhoidectomy Surgery for the Treatment of Hemorrhoids

Patient Pre- and Post-Surgery Instructions

What are Hemorrhoids?

Download and print "Patient Information about Hemorrhoids" PDF*

Before Surgery for Hemorrhoids

  • Tell your doctor about all medications you are taking, including vitamins, supplements, and blood thinners

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery

  • Make sure that you have someone to give you a ride home from the hospital

  • Be sure to take your fleets enema or suppository as prescribed by your doctor

During Surgery

For a hemorrhoidectomy, you will receive general anesthesia. The surgeon ties off the vein inside the hemorrhoid to prevent bleeding and then cuts out the swollen area. The incision will be closed with absorbable sutures that will disappear over time. The surgeon will pack your rectum with gauze or another dressing that contains a topical medication to help control pain. You will be taken to the recovery room, and in most cases you may go home the same day. Recovery may take 2 to 3 weeks.

Risks and Possible Complications of Surgery

  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Urine retention
  • Risks from anesthesia

Caring for Yourself after Surgery

Pain: Pain is common after surgery, especially around the incision. The pain medication prescribed by your doctor should help control the pain, and it should improve in the days following your procedure. Sitz baths twice a day, along with stool softeners, can relieve the pain associated with bowel movements.

Fever: Your temperature can vary after surgery and a low-grade temperature is common. A temperature is concerning if it exceeds 101.5ºF or if it is accompanied by chills, vomiting, flu-like symptoms, or urine retention.

Constipation: Constipation is very common following surgery under general anesthesia because the anesthetic paralyzes the bowel. Pain medications can also cause the bowel to move more slowly. Take an over-the-counter medication such as milk of magnesia, Colace, or Metamucil if needed to keep your stool soft. Prune or apple juice can also get your bowels moving. Staying well-hydrated after your hemorrhoidectomy will also help soften the stool and prevent straining during bowel movements.

Incision: You will most likely go home with a foam packing in your rectum. This packing also contains a numbing medicine to relieve pain in the area, but can be removed the day after your surgery or with your first bowel movement. After the packing is removed, it is important to keep the area as clean and dry as possible to promote healing of the incision. Sitz baths are helpful for cleansing the area. Gauze pads or sanitary napkins can be used to absorb any drainage from the incision. Wearing cotton underwear and loose garments will help control moisture in the area.

When to Call the DOCTOR

  • Pain that is not controlled by your prescription pain medication
  • Increased redness or drainage from an incision
  • Pain or swelling in your calf
  • Difficulty breathing

When to Go the Emergency Room

  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Change in mental status
  • Fever over 101.5 degrees
  • Inability to breathe
  • You are unable to urinate within 8 hours of discharge

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When can I drive?
A: We want you to be safe on the road, so you must be off of narcotic pain medications such as vicodin or percocet. You must also be able to sit with a seat belt on without pain or irritation to the incisions.

Q: Do I have any dietary restrictions?
A: It may take a few days for your appetite to return to normal after your surgery. There are no specific restrictions but drinking lots of water will make stool softer and less painful to pass.

Q: Do I have any activity restrictions?
A: You may return to your normal activities as soon as you feel able. For some people, this is the following day. Others may take several weeks to completely gain their strength.

Q: When can I remove the packing in my rectum?
A: The packing should come out with your first bowel movement following the surgery. If you do not have a bowel movement, you may remove it 24 hours following the procedure.

Q: I’m still in pain after taking the prescription pain medication. What can I do?
A: The prescription medication contains a narcotic along with Tylenol (acetaminophen). If you are allowed to take ibuprofen (such as Advil), you may be able to take some between your doses of prescription pain medication. It is important for you to follow the directions on the label. If you have any questions or are not sure if you should be taking ibuprofen due to other medications or medical conditions, please check with your doctor first. You may also try ice packs and resting to alleviate the pain.

You are always welcome to call the office with your questions or concerns. After hours, an answering service will direct your questions to the on-call providers. However, these individuals are unable to call in prescriptions for pain medication after 5:00 p.m.

Download and print "Patient Information about Hemorrhoids" PDF*

* PDFs: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print PDF forms. If you do not have this program, you may download it for free here.

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