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Surgery. 1997 Oct;122(4):661-7; discussion 667-8.

Prospective study of the features, indications, and surgical treatment in 513 consecutive patients affected by Crohn's disease.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, IL 60637, USA.



The aim of this prospective study was to elucidate the features, indications, and surgical treatment in patients affected by complications of Crohn's disease.


Between January 1985 and July 1996, 513 consecutive patients (248 male, 265 female; mean age, 38 years) were operated on for 542 occurrences of Crohn's disease. Data were collected prospectively.


Indications for abdominal surgery were often multiple but included failure of medical management (n = 220), obstruction (n = 94), intestinal fistula (n = 68), mass (n = 56), abdominal abscess (n = 33), hemorrhage (n = 7), and peritonitis (n = 9). Four hundred sixty-four abdominal procedures were performed, necessitating 425 intestinal resections and 97 stricture plasties. The use of stricture plasty was more common in the second half of the study (16.0% versus 7.3%, second half versus first half; p < 0.01). Perioperative complications occurred in 75 of the 464 abdominal operations (16%). There were no deaths. One hundred thirty patients (25%) required operation for perineal complications of Crohn's disease. The presence of Crohn's disease in the rectal mucosa was associated with a higher risk for permanent stomas in patients requiring operation for treatment of perianal Crohn's disease (67% versus 11%; p < 0.001).


Patterns of surgical treatment in Crohn's disease are changing, with more emphasis on nonresectional options. The presence of rectal involvement significantly increases the need for a permanent stoma in patients with perianal Crohn's disease.

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