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How common is surgery for ulcerative colitis?

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About 23% to 45% of people with ulcerative colitis will have to have surgery to remove their colons. The reasons that surgery becomes necessary include:

  • Medical treatment -- for instance, drug therapy -- fails to provide results.
  • There may be a risk of cancer without surgery.
  • The colon has ruptured.
  • You experience a severe, sudden onset of the disease.
  • There is extensive bleeding.
  • Treatment causes side effects severe enough to compromise your health.
  • Toxic megacolon has set in. This means the muscles of the large intestine are dilated, and the colon can rupture. In some cases, doctors will surgically remove the colon if other treatments do not work or if the side effects of medications have become harmful.

From: Surgery for Ulcerative Colitis WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearing House: "Ulcerative Colitis."

Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America: "Surgery for Ulcerative Colitis."

American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons: "Ulcerative Colitis."

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on November 25, 2018

SOURCES:

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearing House: "Ulcerative Colitis."

Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America: "Surgery for Ulcerative Colitis."

American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons: "Ulcerative Colitis."

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on November 25, 2018

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What types of surgery treat ulcerative colitis?

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