At some stage in their lives about eight out of ten people will suffer from haemorrhoids (or piles) as they are more commonly known.
Not only can they be embarrassing – haemorrhoids can also be painful. Unfortunately so can some of the surgical options available when it comes to treating them.
Now Spire Parkway Hospital, Solihull, Birmingham, has invested in a haemorrhoid-treatment system that can be performed on a walk-in walk-out basis, does not require a general anaesthetic and allows the patient to return to their normal daily activities almost immediately after surgery.
The Rafaelo (RAdio Frequency treatment of hAEmorrhoids under LOcal anaesthetic) emits a safe and painless radio frequency that stems the blood supply causing the haemorrhoid to completely contract. Symptoms should improve instantly leaving the patient ‘haemorrhoid-free’ and able to leave the hospital shortly after treatment.
Mr Amit Patel, a Consultant Colorectal Surgeon at Spire Parkway Hospital said: “Piles surgery has traditionally been a painful and highly morbid operation.
"However, Rafaelo has turned this on its head. The immediate advantage is the ability to avoid a general anaesthetic which allows the patient to effectively walk in and walk out of the clinic following treatment.
"My own patients have had very little in the way of discomfort and initial follow-up results are very pleasing both from a clinical response to treatment and from patient feedback".
Another Spire Parkway Consultant Colorectal Surgeon now using the Rafaelo procedure on some of his patients is Mr David McArthur who describes it as an excellent addition to his ‘armoury’ of treatments for haemorrhoids.
"Haemorrhoids are very common, but patients often suffer in silence because they are worried about how painful treatment might be, or they are embarrassed to seek medical attention in the first place. Rafaelo offers an excellent new treatment for haemorrhoids, being a procedure that can be performed under local anaesthetic in a very quick and straight forward manner.
"Anyone who has symptoms should get them checked out. Firstly, there are other more serious conditions, such as bowel cancer, that can mimic the symptoms of haemorrhoids. Secondly, if haemorrhoids are truly the problem, seeing a specialist will allow you to receive advice on how to manage them.
"Whilst Rafaelo might be the most appropriate treatment, this will not always be the case, and I always aim to discuss the treatment options with patients, allowing them to decide which is the best for them once they have all the information".
Mr Jimmy Barsoum is another Spire Parkway Consultant Colorectal Surgeon who will be using the Rafaelo procedure. He said: "Obviously every patient is different but I do envisage the Rafaelo procedure becoming the treatment of choice for many people in the future.
"The speed and efficiency is a great advantage, as is the fact that it is virtually pain free and can be done under a local anaesthetic. My experiences of using Rafaelo have been very positive and patients have been very satisfied with results".
Mr Barsoum added that though Rafaelo procedure was relatively pain-free as compared to other methods of treatment, it might not be suitable for all degrees of haemorrhoids and some may require a different approach.
How quickly could I have a consultation, and how much would it cost?
It depends on the availability of the consultant you wanted to see, but Spire Parkway prides themselves on getting you fast access to diagnosis, and you can often get a consultation within 24 to 48 hours. Initial consultation fees vary by consultant, but between £175-£250 is a reasonable guide.
If I need surgery, how quickly could I have it?
There are no waiting lists at Spire Parkway, but again it depends on the availability of the consultant you wanted, but as a guide, and subject to your pre-operation assessment, between one and two weeks.
I don’t have health insurance, can I self-pay?
Yes, you can. Spire Parkway's self-pay team can talk you through this and explain the finance options that are available, should you wish to explore them. Call 0121 704 5530, or email email@example.com.