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Infrared Coagulation (IRC)

Infrared coagulation (IRC) is a non-surgical outpatient procedure for the treatment of hemorrhoids. IRC involves the use of infrared light as a heat source to quickly coagulate, or clot, vessels supplying blood to the hemorrhoids. A small probe is used to painlessly deliver a few short bursts of infrared light to the hemorrhoid. The infrared coagulation causes the enlarged hemorrhoidal tissue to shrink and recede.

Your physician may recommend an infrared coagulation procedure if you have:

  • bleeding hemorrhoids
  • prolapsed hemorrhoids (internal hemorrhoids that protrude outside the anal opening due to excessive pressure such as straining during bowel movements)

How to Prepare for Infrared Coagulation

  • Your physician may suggest the use of an over-the-counter enema to cleanse the rectum before you leave your house for the IRC procedure.
  • No special dietary restrictions are required prior to the procedure.
  • Since IRC is performed without sedation, you may safely operate a car to and from the procedure.

What to Expect Once You Arrive for Infrared Coagulation

  • Plan to arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled procedure time.
  • The IRC procedure usually takes about 5-10 minutes.
  • For the procedure, you will lie on your left side.
  • Some patients feel warmth in the anal/rectal area as the infrared light is applied. Many only feel minimal discomfort throughout the procedure.

What to Expect After Infrared Coagulation

  • Any sensation of warmth in the anal/rectal area you experience during and after the IRC procedure should lessen within an hour.
  • A small percentage of patients may experience minimal discomfort, lasting from a week to 10 days after the procedure.
  • There may be minor post-procedure bleeding or spotting.
  • You may return to your normal activities but avoid heavy lifting for a few days following the procedure.
  • Patients are provided with discharge instructions to take home.

For More Information

Infrared coagulation is available at Highland Park Hospital, Highland Park Medical Group and Skokie Hospital GI Lab locations. For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our gastroenterologists, please call 888.364.6400.

NorthShore offers interpretive language services for non-English speaking patients. A request for this no-cost service should be made at the time of appointment scheduling.