Variceal banding is a type of procedure that can help improve or prevent variceal bleeding. It doesn’t require more invasive surgery and can be highly effective in those suffering from this type of bleeding. In a healthy person, blood from the small intestine and colon is brought to the liver through a portal vein. However, in individuals with cirrhosis or scarring of the liver, this normal movement of blood doesn’t occur. In some cases, it can form a new path around the liver. This happens through vessels found in other areas including the esophagus and stomach region. Over time, these vessels swell, at which point they are called varices. Because of the high pressure in them, these vessels often need treatment.
When Is Variceal Banding Necessary?
Individuals who have varices are at an increased risk of vessel enlargement. As vessels become larger within the gastrointestinal tract, they become more dangerous. The walls of the vessels begin to thin as pressure builds within them. In some cases, they can burst, causing internal bleeding in the upper GI tract. In addition, superficial blood vessels located in the GI tract can also become swollen and leak blood. Variceal banding is one of the ways doctors can treat these vessels with the goal of preventing or treating rupture.
What Happens During Variceal Banding?
Variceal banding is a type of endoscopic procedure. It does not require major surgery. In this procedure, bands are placed around the varices located in the esophagus. This is done using a thin, very flexible and long tube called an endoscope. It allows the doctor to see what is happening internally. The banding process works to stop the potential for rupture and can help to stop bleeding already present as a result.
In some situations, though it is rare, the technique may not work. The bleeding from the varices may be too significant, for example. In this case, your Brooklyn GI doctor will use endoscopic sclerotherapy. In this procedure, an injection is made with a hardening agent. These are injected into the varices and over time leads to the eradication.
Variceal banding, also called variceal litigation, is not commonly used in other areas, such as the stomach. If you suffer from gastric varices, your Brooklyn gastroenterologist may recommend the use of hardening materials during the endoscopy instead.
Why Is Variceal Banding Used?
If bleeding is present or if there is evidence that these small vessels are swollen, the risk of rupture are high. This means that you could lose blood and you may suffer from long-term complications. However, variceal banding as an endoscopic treatment is very straightforward and minimally invasive. It can be performed in most outpatient centers and hospitals.
Variceal banding is a common type of management tool your cirrhosis doctor at our Cobble Hill or Ocean Parkway location in Brooklyn, NY may recommend. It is often necessary in individuals who have advancing cirrhosis. The procedure can take more than one session to completely eradicate the varices. Location as well as seriousness impact how much time it will take to improve this condition and reduce complications it may bring about if left untreated.