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Abdominal surgery for Crohn’s disease that has not responded to medical treatments
Crohn's disease causes your bowel wall to thicken, which can block food from passing through. The affected area of your bowel can also fail to absorb nutrients from your food.
The main symptoms of Crohn's disease are:
Crohn's disease is one of the two most common types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The other is ulcerative colitis. Both cause chronic digestive symptoms and can have a significant impact on your quality of life. There is no cure for Crohn's disease, but there are a variety of treatments available to help manage and reduce your symptoms.
If you are living with Crohn's disease, or suspect you may inflammatory bowel disease, it's important to speak to a specialist. We have a network of experienced consultants who can help to diagnose and treat IBD and Crohn's, helping you to take control of your symptoms. Call or book online to start your journey to better health today.
If you have been experiencing abdominal discomfort (regardless of your age), it's best to visit your doctor in case it's Crohn's disease or another condition that affects the bowel.
If your symptoms can't be controlled using medicine, your consultant may suggest surgery.
These are complications of Crohn's disease that can often be treated with medicines or minor procedures, but in other instances will need to be addressed surgically.
Severe complications of Crohn's disease are another common reason people choose to have surgery. These can include:
Crohn's disease is not the same as bowel cancer however there is an increased risk that you will develop bowel cancer if you have had Crohn's in your large bowel (large intestine) for over 10 years. If precancerous cells are found, you may need surgery.
Rest assured that our consultant specialists will only recommend surgery if they feel it would be beneficial for you. We will always try non-invasive treatment for Crohn's disease such as medications first.
Surgery is not always offered as a last resort, and some people might be offered it earlier in their treatment journey. In this instance it will be expected that surgery will provide a significant reduction in symptoms and side effects that makes surgery really worthwhile, however the choice will be up to you.
Still, many people who have Crohn's disease will eventually need surgery. This might be because it will significantly improve your quality of life, or in some cases it may be that you have medical complications as a result of Crohn's that mean not having surgery poses a higher risk.
Whatever your circumstances, your consultant is there to guide you through, helping you make any necessary choices and explaining every step of the process along the way.
For some people, non-surgical treatments simply can't manage the symptoms of Crohn's disease enough, and the condition affects their quality of life so badly that they need to have surgery.
The primary benefits of Crohn's disease surgery are that it can:
Bowel resection means removing part of your bowel. This is one of the most common types of surgery for Crohn's disease. A damaged section of your colon is removed and the two healthy sections either side are joined together in what's called an anastomosis. Colectomy is one common type of bowel resection.
An operation to repair strictures in the small intestine without having to remove any of your bowel. Strictures happen when scarring in your bowel causes a narrowing, and they can lead to blockages so often need to be treated.
These are two approaches to creating a stoma, which is an opening in your tummy through which a section of your bowel is brought so that its contents can be emptied straight into a bag. Both colostomy and ileostomy can be temporary or permanent.
It may take up to three months for you to feel back to normal after surgery, though you'll start to feel better much sooner than this. Most people find their quality of life is significantly improved once the diseased part of their bowel has been removed.
To boost your recovery, eat healthily, get lots of rest and stay as active as you can. Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible, and your care team will give you detailed advice on when it's safe to exercise and what activities are best for you.
Your consultant will be able to explain your personal risk levels in detail and should put your mind at rest about any worries you are having.
If you would like to see a consultant to learn more about surgery for Crohn’s disease, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly.