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A gentler approach to hemorrhoid surgery

Tuesday, February 12, 2002

St. Luke's physician first in Wisconsin to use it

MILWAUKEE, Wis., A new technique to treat advanced hemorrhoids is welcome news for patients who otherwise face a proven but painful traditional hemorrhoidectomy.

James Klas, MD, a colorectal surgeon on staff at St. Luke's Medical Center, believes the new surgical "Procedure for Prolapsing Hemorrhoids" (PPH) or "Stapled Hemorrhoidectomy" will become quite popular as more surgeons learn it. Because of his experience, Dr. Klas will soon begin teaching other physicians how to perform the technique.

The first physician in Wisconsin to offer PPH, Dr. Klas says his patients have experienced little or no post-surgical pain.

"They're back to normal activities, including work, the next day," he says. "It's like night and day compared to a traditional hermorrhoidectomy, which usually involves a two to four-week recovery."

Hemorrhoids are a common condition that occurs when rectal veins become swollen from straining or pressure. More than 525,000 patients in the U.S. are treated annually for symptomatic hemorrhoids. Symptoms include pain, bleeding, itching, burning and protrusion. While many cases can be treated with self-care and over-the-counter products, some hemorrhoids are so troublesome that they require surgical intervention.

In many cases, that requires an inpatient overnight stay in the hospital. In contrast, the PPH is performed on an outpatient basis.

With the new stapled hemorrhoidectomy, the surgeon does not need to cut the hemorrhoid tissue from the extremely sensitive area outside the anus. Instead, a special surgical stapling device is used to close off the blood supply just above the hemorrhoids and fix the tissue internally in an area that is not pain-sensitive. Without blood flow, hemorrhoids eventually shrink, shrivel and the symptoms disappear.

For more information on this new procedure, please call Dr. Klas at 414-649-3240.

St. Luke's Medical Center is part of Aurora Health Care, a community-owned Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora has care sites in 65 communities in eastern Wisconsin.

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