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Surgery. 2006 Oct;140(4):649-54. Epub 2006 Sep 7.

Patterns and operative treatment of recurrent Crohn's disease: a prospective longitudinal study.

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University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill, USA.



It is believed commonly that Crohn's recurrences always occur at the site of a previous intestinal anastomosis; yet this concept is probably inaccurate and not mindful of the panintestinal nature of the disease.


Between October, 1984 and March, 2003, we carried out 1,132 procedures (464 for primary and 668 for recurrent disease) on 981 consecutive patients. Patients in whom we carried out both the original procedure as well as the procedure for recurrent disease constitute this study population. Operative procedures for perineal complications were excluded from this analysis. Data were accrued prospectively.


Seventy-eight patients met the study inclusion criteria. They had a total of 149 sites of disease (duodenum, n = 3; jejunum/ileum, n = 53; terminal ileum/neo terminal ileum, n = 67; colon and rectum, n = 26). One hundred thirty-four sites required operative intervention (85 resections and 49 strictureplasties) and 15 did not. Crohn's disease recurred in 79 sites after a mean of 48.4 months (range, 1-161 months, median, 41 months). Site of operative intervention and operative technique influenced patterns of recurrence: when an anastomosis or strictureplasty was constructed with small bowel, the majority of recurrences were limited to the anastomotic line (17/29, 59%); when it was constructed with small bowel and colon, the majority of recurrences extended to the proximal limb (29/35, 83%). The difference in recurrence pattern is significant (P < .01). In addition, fewer recurrences occurred at strictureplasty than resection sites (22/49, 45%, vs 57/85, 70%, respectively, P < .05). At the time of the second procedure, 40 additional recurrences were identified distant from the original operative site. Four of these represented progression of disease at the 15 sites that did not originally need operative intervention. Of 119 total recurrences, 115 required 73 resections, 40 strictureplasties, and 2 other procedures.


The site of the original operative intervention is the most common site for recurrence, although as many as one-third of recurrences occur separate from it. Pattern of recurrence is influenced by site of the operative intervention (anastomotic for small bowel, proximal limb for ileocolonic) and by operative technique (fewer recurrences occurred at strictureplasty than resection sites). Disease progression occurred in 25% of the sites not addressed operatively at the original procedure. The operative strategy applied to Crohn's complications in different intestinal sites was similar for primary and recurrent disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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