Infrared Coagulation (IRC) of Hemorrhoids

  • Infrared coagulation (IRC) of hemorrhoids is an office-based procedure that can provide relief of symptomatic internal hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids are swollen veins just inside the anal canal which can frequently result in symptoms of anal burning/itching, prolapse (“popping out of the anal canal”), and bleeding.
  • Most people who have hemorrhoids have little or no symptoms, but some can have the above symptoms and be troubled by them. If you and your doctor agree that hemorrhoids are the source of your symptoms, and a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy has ruled out other causes, then you may be a candidate for IRC.
  • On the morning of the procedure, we may ask that you take an enema but some doctors require no preparation beforehand. Your doctor will ask you to lie on your left side and he will insert a small light into your anal canal and then apply the probe above the hemorrhoids, which will cause the hemorrhoid to shrivel. The procedure is general painless and takes only a few minutes. Only a small area can be treated at a time due to a higher risk of complications if too many areas are treated at once, and thus your doctor will ask you to return for a few more sessions to ensure full treatment of the hemorrhoids. Complications are very rare but do include increased bleeding.
  • There are alternatives to the IRC procedure including surgical hemorrhoidectomy or hemorrhoid banding, but these tend to be associated with higher complication rates and more procedural pain.

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