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Risks of Crohn's Surgery

People with Crohn's often choose to get surgery to make their day-to-day life better. "In these cases, we decide to do surgery only after weighing benefits and risks," Talamini says.

Risks include leaking from your bowel, infection in your belly or near the wound from surgery, blood clots in your hands or feet, and short-term blockage in your bowel. You could also get "short-gut syndrome." This means your intestine is too short to absorb all the nutrients you need.

Advances in Crohn's Surgery

Crohn's surgery used to mean getting a long cut in your belly so the surgeon could reach your organs. It could take 6 weeks to heal. Today, surgeons insert a laparoscope into your belly through a small cut.  It has a tiny camera on the tip, so the surgeon can see inside your body.

"Typical procedures take 1 to 3 hours and require 3 to 7 days of recovery in the hospital," Vogel says. You can likely return to your normal life in just a few weeks.

"These new techniques are safe and effective," Vogel adds. "And they are constantly being refined to limit post-op pain and shorten hospital stays."

Most people with Crohn's are good candidates for laparoscopic surgery. You may not be if you have had many operations and have scar tissue in your belly.

Crohn's surgery isn't just for old people. "People with Crohn's disease are typically young and ramping up their careers and lives," Talamini says. "Having the option of surgery that is less invasive (physically, socially, and professionally) is important."