Hemorrhoid Pistol

From Omni Continuum, issue unknown

Hemorrhoids are one of the most embarrassing of the medical afflictions that plaque man. But quick relief for this painful condition, in the guise of a pistol-like device that fires a beam of infrared light, is said to have arrived on the scence.

'This should become the first-line method for treatment of hemorrhoids,' says rectal surgeon, John O'Connor of George Washington University in Washington, DC, a pioneer in use of the infrared technique, 'because it is effective and inexpensive, it is done on an outpatient basis, and in comparision with other procedures the treatment is painless.'

To use the device, O'Connor explains, its narrow, foot-long barrel (or light guide) is gently pressed against the hemorrhoid, leaving a small scar in its place. The entire procedure occurs in the doctor's office, lasts a maximum of 15 minutes, and permits the patient to return to work the same day. Cost starts at $150 and ranges up to $450 if several visits are needed.

The new technique, known as infrared coagulation, helps patients avoid $2,000 surgery, O'Connor says, and it does away with the discomfort of widely used rubber-band ligation -- constriction of the hemorrhoid to dry it up. Already several hundred doctors in the United States are treating patients with the new device.

'Anyone familiar with rectal surgery and the other non-surgical procedures for treatment of hemorrhoids,' O'Connor says, 'can learn to use it right away.' - Eric Mishara

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