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Radiology. 2002 Mar;222(3):645-51.

Percutaneous abscess drainage in Crohn disease: technical success and short- and long-term outcomes during 14 years.

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Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit St, White 270, Boston, MA 02114, USA.



To determine technical success with percutaneous abscess drainage (PAD) in patients with Crohn disease during 14 years.


Medical records of 32 patients with Crohn disease who underwent PAD from 1985 to 1999 were reviewed. Results of abscess drainage and nature of subsequent surgical procedures were recorded. Factors assessed included postoperative or spontaneous nature of the abscess, documentation of a proved fistula, history of occurrence of prior abscesses, duration of Crohn disease, and use of steroid treatment. Technical success was defined as complete abscess drainage. Short-term success was defined as avoidance of surgery within 60 days of drainage. Long-term success was defined as avoidance of surgery beyond the initial 60-day period. Short-term avoidance of surgery was assessed as a predictor of the need for surgery in the long term. Statistical analysis was performed with the chi(2) test to evaluate predictors of short-term success and to assess short-term success as a predictor of long-term success.


The technical success rate was 96%. In 16 (50%) of 32 patients, the need for surgery in the short term was avoided, and surgery was more likely to be avoided in patients with postoperative abscesses than in those with spontaneous abscesses (P =.07). At long-term follow-up, short-term avoidance of surgery did not significantly increase the likelihood of need for surgery in the long term, which occurred in nine of 16 short-term successes versus five of 15 short-term failures (P =.55). Recurrent abscesses occurred in seven (22%) patients, a rate comparable to that with surgical abscess drainage; four (44%) of nine cases of re-drainage were successful.


PAD has a high technical success rate of 96%. Half of patients may avoid surgery in the short term.

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