PURPOSE: To compare the postoperative evolution and the long-term efficacy after stapled haemorrhoidopexy (PPH) and Milligan-Morgan haemorrhoidectomy (MM). METHODS: In a prospective randomized study, 40 patients requiring surgical treatment for prolapsing haemorrhoids grade II or III were assigned to either MM or PPH (20 each). Postoperative pain, wound healing were evaluated, as well as anal pressures and sphincter anatomy. Mean follow-up is 46 months. RESULTS: Postoperative pain at rest and during defecation was less important after PPH if no resection of external piles or skin tags was associated (P < 0.0001). Healing time was shorter after PPH (P < 0.0001). Endoanal ultrasound remained unchanged postoperatively. Resting and squeeze pressures decreased after MM, but not after PPH (P < 0.01). After a mean follow-up of 46 months (12-56), persistent or recurrent symptoms, mostly mild and temporary, were observed after both MM and PPH, in 7 and 11 patients respectively (NS). After PPH, five patients (25%) complained of recurrent external swelling and/or prolapse (P = 0.047 vs. MM) requiring redo surgery in four of them, after 10, 13, 14 and 21 months. No redo-surgery was required after MM. Long term patient satisfaction after PPH was not better than after MM. CONCLUSIONS: Postoperative pain is less important after PPH. This advantage disappears if any resection is associated with the stapling. At medium to long-term follow-up, PPH seems to carry a higher risk of symptomatic external haemorrhoidal disease, needing further surgery.