IRC is a minimally invasive, effective and well tolerated procedure done right in the physician’s office. Most times, it can be completed within minutes and the patients may return to work or their daily activities without any down time. It can be very effective for grade 1 and 2 hemorrhoids although sometimes 3 hemorrhoids in the right setting can be treated.
The IRC method utlilizes infrared light. This is a very safe and “natural” process and it is the same infrared light we get from the sun. The use of this invisible light is a very basic principle in that infrared light is hot and can burn or coagulate tissue when it is condensed or amplified. It is often accompanied by red light or natural spectrum light so it can be seen by the physician. It does not contain carcinogenic spectrum light such as ultraviolet (UV) light. Infrared light is actually safer than sunlight and used in a very controlled and precise manner to produce a safe, effective, medical treatment for hemorrhoids.
The procedure is completed by making a series of short bursts of infrared light above the internal hemorrhoid tissues. This causes small coagulation burns when touching the tip of the instrument to the rectal wall mucosa. The burns or “coagulation eschars” may then blister or scab and then slough within a few days. Treatment is done in an area of the rectum that has few nerve endings so no anesthesia is not required. If pressure or discomfort is felt, some numbing gel can be applied to the area. IRC treatments are usually repeated over the active hemorrhoid areas until the vessel prominence has receded or it has completely disappeared. As treatments progress, relief of symptoms decrease and patients quickly notice improvement. IRC usually takes a few treatments to get the best results but each individual is different and your procedures will be tailored to your particular situation.
IRC is an ideal treatment method for numerous patients including: the elderly where risks due to health decline and frailty are a concern, pregnant moms in any stage of gestation or after labor and delivery, teenagers and young adults or any patients that are nervous or worried about invasive treatments, and those who are required to take blood thinning medications like aspirin, warfarin, Plavix, Pradaxa, etc.
IRC has many research studies in the medical literature finding that when combining patient satisfaction, comfort and clinical improvement, it is likely the best method of office-based treatment of hemorrhoids.