Rubber Band Ligation

Rubber band ligation is one of the most common and effective non-surgical treatments for hemorrhoids. During this procedure, rubber bands are placed around the base of the hemorrhoid in order to cut off the blood supply to the swollen blood vessel. A lack of blood flow causes the hemorrhoid to shrink and fall off in about a week. Rubber band ligation is usually performed as an out-patient procedure in a doctor’s office, and takes very little time to perform.

The Procedure

A lidocaine gel, which acts as a lubricant and local anesthetic, is applied to the anal canal. An anoscope is then inserted into the anus, and a surgical instrument is used to grasp the hemorrhoid and place a rubber band around the base of it.  Your doctor may perform this procedure on one or two hemorrhoids in one session.

After a rubber band ligation, you may feel mild discomfort for up to 48 hours. You may also experience fullness in the lower abdomen or feel like you need to have a bowel movement. The discomfort can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications, and a sitz bath can also relieve discomfort and swelling.

About a week after having a rubber band ligation, the treated hemorrhoid should fall off. You may notice minor bleeding when this occurs.


The risk of side effects and complications from a rubber band ligation are rare and can generally be treated easily. Complications may include:

  • Pain
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Bleeding
  • Development of an external hemorrhoid,
  • Urinary retention
  • Infection
  • Sepsis

Contact your doctor if you experience a difficulty in urinating, fever or excessive bleeding, as these may be signs of serious complications that need further treatment.