Your child might need surgery if:
- They have serious inflammation that doesn’t get better with medicines and nutritional support.
- Their intestine gets very narrow or scarred because of IBD. This can block the intestine.
- Crohn’s disease affects the area around their anus. This can cause pain, infections and pockets of pus (abscesses).
Surgery is very different for Crohn’s disease and for ulcerative colitis.
For Crohn’s disease, surgeons repair or remove the affected part of the intestine and preserve as much of the healthy intestine as possible. Surgeons use many techniques to do this.
For ulcerative colitis, surgeons remove the entire large intestine (colon) and the lining of the rectum (or, rarely, the whole rectum). In most cases, they create a pouch inside the body from the end of the small intestine (ileum) to the anus. (This bypasses the large intestine.) Then they connect the small intestine to an outside opening made in the skin of the belly so waste can pass to a bag. This bag (an ileostomy bag) is attached on the outside. Later, when the inside pouch can take over, surgeons close the ileostomy. Rarely, a child’s digestive tract is not healthy enough to make a pouch inside that works; in this case, the child keeps the ileostomy.
Our surgeons are highly experienced at operations for both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. They are skilled in both laparoscopic surgery, or minimally invasive techniques, and in open methods (using a larger cut). Your child’s surgeon will help you decide which technique is best for your child.