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Rafaelo procedure for haemorrhoids

 A highly effective treatment to shrink and remove your piles

A surgeon and his assistants performing the Rafaelo procedure for haemorrhoids
Haemorrhoids, commonly referred to as piles, are swollen blood vessels found inside or around your bottom. In many cases they don't cause symptoms and people don't know they have piles. In other cases, people experience the following symptoms:

  • An itchy bottom
  • Bleeding after going to the toilet (the blood is usually bright red)
  • A lump hanging down outside of your bottom, which might need to be pushed back in after you have gone to the toilet
  • Soreness, redness and swelling around your bottom
  • A discharge that occurs when you go to the toilet

The exact cause of haemorrhoids is unknown, but it is thought they are caused by increased pressure in the blood vessels in and around your bum, which causes the vessels to become swollen, inflamed, and sometimes painful. It is also associated with straining too much on the toilet, as well as long-term diarrhoea - both of which can increase the pressure in your blood vessels. Other factors associated with increased pressure in your blood vessels include ageing, being overweight, and having a persistent cough.

Managing your haemorrhoids

While haemorrhoids can be painful and uncomfortable, they rarely cause serious issues. In many cases, the condition can be treated with lifestyle changes that ease pressure in your blood vessels. This includes following a healthy diet with lots of fibre to reduce constipation, losing weight if needed, drinking plenty of water, and exercising regularly. Your doctor might also recommend certain topical treatment options that can be applied directly to your bottom to make it easier and more comfortable for you to go to the toilet.

If your symptoms do not get better with lifestyle changes or medication, you might be offered surgery to remove the swollen blood vessels.

There are various treatments available to remove haemorrhoids, one of which is the Rafaelo procedure, a day-case operation with a fast recovery time, allowing you return to your everyday activities almost immediately after surgery. The procedure treats haemorrhoids using radiofrequency ablation, an innovative technique commonly used to treat varicose veins as well as piles.

We have a large network of experienced consultants who can perform your Rafaelo procedure. Call us or book an appointment with a consultant online to get started on your treatment journey.

The price of your treatment depends on which hospital you choose, and which consultant you have the procedure with.

Our fixed-price packages include the cost of surgery and all appropriate aftercare appointments. However, any pre-surgery diagnostic tests and your consultant's outpatient appointment fee are charged separately.

Our flexible payment options help you spread the cost of your payment across a time period that suits you. We offer fixed-term monthly payment plans over one to five years with no deposit required.

If you have private health insurance, your treatment will usually be covered by your provider. Speak to your insurer directly to find out.

Your consultant will determine whether you need a treatment for piles by taking a detailed medical history as well as performing a physical examination of your rectum. They might also arrange for you to have an X-Ray to look inside your colon and rectum. This is to diagnose internal piles.

If your consultant confirms you have piles, they will discuss your treatment options with you, and advise which would be the best treatment for you.

Your consultant will give you a good idea of timelines for treatment during your initial consultation, after which they'll put together a fixed-price treatment package based on everything you have discussed together. Once you've agreed to the costs, we can get you booked in to have your treatment at a time that suits you.

If you're taking blood-thinning medication, you might be asked to stop taking it for a few days before the procedure. This is to prevent excessive bleeding during the operation. You might also be advised to stop smoking (if applicable) during the lead-up to your surgery.

Your doctor might also encourage you to incorporate some lifestyle changes to help you manage your symptoms before surgery. This includes maintaining a healthy and balanced exercise and diet plan to lose weight if you are overweight.

Your healthcare team will ensure you know exactly how to prepare for the Rafaelo procedure, so there won't be any unanswered questions along the way. If you do need to stop smoking for a short period before surgery, they will offer advice and support on how best to do this, as well as how to maintain your overall health and wellbeing in the run-up to surgery.

The Rafaelo procedure is carried out under local anaesthetic, meaning you will be awake but won't feel the area being operated on. The local anaesthetic might be injected with a sedative medicine to ensure you remain relaxed throughout the procedure - this can make you feel a bit sleepy, which is normal and nothing to worry about.

Your consultant will ask that you lie on your left-hand side with your knees pulled up towards your chest. They will insert a tube called a proctoscope into your bottom. This has a light and camera attached to the end of it which connects to a monitor, so your consultant has a clear view of your haemorrhoids as they apply radiofrequency energy to each one.

Next, your consultant will apply radiofrequency energy to each haemorrhoids using a special needle probe (the Rafaelo technology). This reduces blood flow to the pile, making it shrink. It will continue to shrink after the procedure, often disappearing within two weeks.

The procedure takes between 15 and 30 minutes.

This procedure has been developed to have a fast recovery time. You can leave hospital on the same day as the procedure, but you might need someone to collect you while the local anaesthesia wears off. We can arrange for a taxi to collect you, if needed.

You might have slight discomfort in your bottom for the first 24 hours or so, but this can be effectively managed with regular painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. Remember to maintain a healthy, balanced, and high-fibre diet when you return home to avoid constipation and straining too hard when you go to the toilet. You can get back to your usual everyday activities, including exercise, almost immediately after the procedure.

As with any procedure, there are possible complications that can occur during this procedure, but these are rare. Possible side effects include:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Developing an anal fissure
  • Difficulty going to the toilet after surgery
  • Developing skin tags

You can discuss these with your consultant, who will be able to explain the likelihood of complications occurring and put your mind at ease.

What are the benefits of the Rafaello procedure?

The procedure significantly reduces symptoms such as pain, bleeding, and discharge. It also eliminates your haemorrhoids and offers a fast recovery time, helping you get back to usual, everyday life quickly after surgery.

When should I be worried about haemorrhoids?

You should seek treatment for piles as soon as you experience symptoms that last for longer than seven days - this includes bleeding, discomfort, and pain in and around your bottom.

How can I shrink piles without surgery?

As mentioned above, piles can be treated with lifestyle changes that ease pressure in your blood vessels. This includes following a healthy diet with lots of fibre to reduce constipation, losing weight if needed, drinking plenty of water, and exercising regularly. Your doctor might also recommend certain topical treatment options that can be applied directly to your bottom to make it easier and more comfortable for you to go to the toilet. You can also gently push a pile back inside, take a warm bath to ease itching and pain, and wipe your bottom with damp, wet toilet paper to prevent any scratching and irritation.

Can you push piles back in?

Yes, as mentioned above, you can gently push a haemorrhoid back inside your bottom. If they become too large and you are struggling with your symptoms, you will need to seek treatment to reduce or remove your haemorrhoids.

When you choose to go private with Circle Health Group, you can expect:

  • Flexible appointment times to fit your schedule
  • The freedom to choose your hospital and your consultant
  • Bespoke, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Private en-suite rooms as standard 
  • Tasty and nutritious meals cooked onsite to your dietary requirements
  • Support from the same compassionate clinical team from beginning to end
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help spread the cost of your care

If you want to know more about this procedure and find out if it's the right treatment for you, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in May 2023. Next review due May 2026.

  1. NHS Inform, haemorrhoids (piles)
  2. Piles (haemorrhoids), NHS
  3. Harvard Health Publishing, haemorrhoids and what to do about them
  4. Patient UK, piles: causes, symptoms and treatment

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