Ulcerative Colitis: When Surgery Is Needed
Surgery is likely to be needed for ulcerative colitis for the following reasons.
- Medicines and nutritional therapy have failed to manage severe symptoms.
- Toxic megacolon does not respond to medical treatment within 4 days (or sooner in some cases).
- Holes form in the large intestine. (This is called perforation.)
- You have colon cancer or a significantly increased risk of cancer. (This risk is found by biopsies.) Or you have a narrowing in the intestine that can't be told apart from cancer. You may need surgery even if you don't have symptoms of active disease.
- Severe, disabling complications occur outside the colon. But many complications do not respond to surgery.
- You have severe bleeding that requires ongoing blood transfusions.
- Slow growth or other serious complications occur in children.
People may choose to have surgery to improve their quality of life, cure ulcerative colitis, or prevent colon cancer.
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Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Peter J. Kahrilas, MD - Gastroenterology
Current as ofOctober 8, 2012
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