Assessment of haemorrhoidal artery network using colour duplex imaging and clinical implications

Ratto C., Parrello A., Donisi L., Litta F., Zaccone G., Doglietto G.B.
Br J Surg. 2012 Jan;99(1):112-8. doi: 10.1002/bjs.7700

Dearterialization should reduce arterial overflow to haemorrhoids. The purpose of this study was to assess the topography of haemorrhoidal arteries.

Fifty patients with haemorrhoidal disease were studied. Using endorectal ultrasonography, six sectors were identified within the lower rectal circumference. Starting from the highest level (6 cm above the anorectal junction), the same procedure was repeated every 1 cm until the lowest level was reached (1 cm above the anorectal junction). Colour duplex imaging examinations identified haemorrhoidal arteries related to the rectal wall layers, and the arterial depth was calculated.

Haemorrhoidal arteries were detected in 64.3, 66.0, 66.0, 98.3, 99.3 and 99.7 per cent of the sectors 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 cm above the anorectal junction respectively (P < 0.001). Most of the haemorrhoidal arteries were external to the rectal wall at 6 and 5 cm (97.9 and 90.9 per cent), intramuscular at 4 cm (55.0 per cent) and within the submucosa at 3, 2 and 1 cm above the anorectal junction (67.1, 96.6 and 100 per cent) (P< 0.001). The mean arterial depth decreased significantly from 8.3 mm at 6 cm to 1.9 mm at 1 cm above the anorectal junction (P<0.001).

This study demonstrated that the vast majority of haemorrhoidal arteries lie within the rectal submucosa at the lowest 2 cm above the anorectal junction. This should therefore be the best site for performing haemorrhoidal dearterialization.