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Ann Surg. 1996 Mar;223(3):253-60.

The impact of disease pattern, surgical management, and individual surgeons on the risk for relaparotomy for recurrent Crohn's disease.

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Department of Surgery, University of Heidelberg, Germany.



The authors provide a multivariate analysis of a large single-center experience with limited surgery for Crohn's disease.


During the past decade, the aim of surgery for Crohn's disease has shifted from radical operation, achieving inflammation-free margins of resection, to "minimal surgery," intended to remove just grossly inflamed tissue or performing strictureplasties.


Seven hundred ninety-three cases of resection and/or strictureplasty in 689 individuals with histologically verified Crohn's disease were followed for a mean period of 50 months (range, 5-166 months). Two different end points were analyzed: 1) any relaparotomy for recurrent (or persistent) Crohn's disease and 2) relaparotomy for site-specific recurrence. More than 30 variables of patient/disease characteristics and surgical management were included in a proportional hazard model.


Five parameters were associated independently with the risk for relaparotomy: increased risk coincided with young age at onset of disease, involvement of jejunum, enterocutaneous fistula, or performed strictureplasty, and decreased risk followed ileocecal resection. Site-specific risks of reoperation were calculated on the basis of 1260 intestinal resections or anastomoses performed in these patients. Young age at onset, duodenal and jejunal involvement, presence of enterocutaneous or perianal fistula, and a single surgeon (of 23) were associated significantly with increased risk of regional recurrence but not strictureplasty or inflammation at margins of resection.


Limited surgery for Crohn's disease is not associated with increased risk of regional recurrence requiring reoperation. However, patients with juvenile onset, proximal small bowel disease, and some types of fistulae are at a considerable risk of experiencing early surgical recurrence.

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