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Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2010 Aug;16(8):1431-42. doi: 10.1002/ibd.21261.

Nonfistulizing perianal Crohn's disease: clinical features, epidemiology, and treatment.

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Department of Hepato-Gastroenterology, University Hospital of Rennes, Pontchaillou, Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy, France.


Nonfistulizing perianal lesions, including ulcerations, strictures, and anal carcinoma, are frequently observed in Crohn's disease. Their clinical course remains poorly known. The management of these lesions is difficult because none of the treatments used is evidence-based. Ulcerations may be symptomatic in up to 85% of patients. Most ulcerations heal spontaneously but may also progress to anal stenosis or fistula/abscess. Topical treatments only improve symptoms, while complete healing can occur in patients with perianal ulcerations receiving infliximab therapy. Half of all patients with anal strictures will require permanent fecal diversion. Dilatation for symptomatic strictures should be performed on a highly selective basis in the absence of active rectal disease in order to avoid infectious complications. Anorectal strictures associated with rectal lesions should first be managed with medical therapy. Skin tags are usually painless and may hide other perianal lesions. Anal cancer is uncommon. Its treatment is similar to that recommended for anal cancer occurring in non-Crohn's disease patients. After reviewing the classification, clinical features, and epidemiology of each type of nonfistulizing perianal lesion (ulceration, stricture, skin tags, and anal cancer), we discuss the efficacy of medical treatment and surgery. This review article may help physicians in decision-making when managing potentially disabling lesions.

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