Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative colitis are often first treated by a Gastroenterologist with prescription medications. These diseases can often become progressive and require surgery. The expertise of a colorectal surgeon can be very helpful in managing what can often be complicated surgical decisions and challenging operations. Patient’s may have a fear of what will happen with surgery or have a fear of needing an ostomy bag. The Colorectal surgery team understands these worries and has a team that guides patients through this difficult decision-making process
Surgery for Ulcerative Colitis is curative and is often performed when patient’s stop responding to medication or develop precancerous changes in the colon. Patients undergo complete removal of the colon and rectum with sparing of the anal sphincter. A pouch is made out of small intestine and is attached to the anus to create a place for stool to gather before bowel movements. This is a complex reconstructive surgery and is done routinely at Baystate using minimally invasive/laparoscopic techniques.
Crohn’s Disease can present challenges because it can affect patient’s digestive tracts anywhere from the mouth to the anus. Surgeons try to minimize operative procedures on Crohn’s patients, but the reality is that over half of Crohn’s patients may require surgery and repeat surgery through their lifetimes. Careful decision-making and surgical approach is a must. The Colorectal Surgeons at Baystate have extensive experience with complicated Crohn’s disease. At times, surgery can even be performed laparoscopically for Crohn’s patients.