Is Doppler ultrasonography essential for hemorrhoidal artery ligation?

Avital S., Inbar R., Karin E., Greenberg R.
Tech Coloproctology (2012) 16:291-294

Doppler ultrasonography enables accurate identification of the terminal branches of the superior rectal artery prior to hemorrhoidal artery ligation (HAL). However, since the positions of these branches have been found to be relatively constant, the question arises as to the necessity of ultrasonography for their identification. The aim of the current study was to examine the positions of all arteries identified and ligated during the HAL procedure.

We recorded the position of all arteries located and ligated in 135 consecutive patients who underwent the HAL procedure during the years 2003 to 2006.

In all patients, 6-8 terminal arterial branches were located above the dentate line. In 102 (76 %) patients, terminal branches were located in all 6 of the odd-numbered clock positions around the anus (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 o’clock in the lithotomy position). If we had ligated arteries only at these odd-numbered clock positions, without using Doppler ultrasonography, we would have located all the arteries in 96 (71 %) of our patients.

The number and location of arterial branches of the superior rectal artery are relatively constant. Nevertheless, if, Doppler ultrasonography had not been performed and, ligation in the HAL procedure had been at the odd-numbered clock positions only, then at least one artery would have been missed in 29 % of our patients.