• Rubber band ligation is an efficacious and cost-effective alternative to conventional hemorrhoidectomy for symptomatic internal hemorrhoids. Even though the well-recognized complications of bleeding and thrombosis occur infrequently, far more serious septic complications have only recently been described, as evidenced in five of our patients: four cases were serious enough to necessitate surgical intervention, and one patient died. Pain followed by urinary dysfunction with or without toxic symptoms should alert the physician to the probability of localized perianal or systemic sepsis. Acute awareness of these rare but potentially life-threatening complications and immediate aggressive treatment is mandatory if death is to be prevented. Rubber band ligation of internal hemorrhoids need not be abandoned; however, the indications should be clear, the technique mastered, and a close patient follow-up maintained.
(Arch Surg 1988;123:650-651)