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Inflammatory Bowel Disease

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Is Surgery Ever Used To Treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Surgical treatment for IBD depends upon the disease. Ulcerative colitis, for instance, can be cured with surgery, because the disease is limited to the colon. Once the colon is removed, the disease doesn't come back. However, surgery will not cure Crohn's disease, although some surgeries may be used. Excessive surgery in people with Crohn's disease can actually lead to more problems.

There are several surgical options available for people with ulcerative colitis. Which one is right for you depends on several factors:

  • The extent of your disease
  • Your age
  • Your overall health

The first option is called a proctocolectomy. It involves the removal of the entire colon and rectum. The surgeon then makes an opening on the abdomen called an ileostomy that goes into part of the small intestine. This opening provides a new path for feces to be emptied into a pouch that's attached to the skin with an adhesive.

Another commonly used surgery is called ileoanal anastomosis. The surgeon removes the colon and then creates an internal pouch that connects the small intestine to the anal canal. This allows feces to still exit through the anus.

Even though surgery will not cure Crohn's disease, approximately 50% of people with Crohn's require surgery at some point. If you have Crohn's disease and require surgery, your doctor will discuss your options with you. Be sure you ask questions and understand the goal or goals of the surgery, its risks and benefits, and what could happen if you don't have the surgery.

When you have an IBD, the symptoms will come and go over a period of many years. That doesn't mean they control you; managing your condition with the help of your health care providers is the best way to stay as healthy as possible in the long term.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on October 27, 2014
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