Crohn's Disease

UW Health Colon and Rectal Surgeons in Madison, Wisconsin are experts in the surgical management of Crohn's disease.


Crohn's is an inflammatory disease affecting any part of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus.  It is most commonly found where the small intestine ends and the large intestine begins (terminal ileum). 


Symptoms of Crohn's Disease


Symptoms can often mimic those of ulcerative colitis; however the patient may experience a triad of symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss. Crohns's disease may also affect the perianal area leading to fissures and fistulas.


Diagnosing Crohn's Disease


Diagnosis is often made by a combination of radiographic and endoscopic (colonoscopy) approaches including an evaluation with biopsies of the involved areas. Sometimes, it is difficult to diagnose Crohn's disease on evaluation of biopsies alone. The pattern of the disease observed on colonoscopy evaluation can often differentiate Crohn's disease from Ulcerative Colitis. This differentiation is important to allow appropriate surgical treatment when necessary.


Treatment of Crohn's Disease


Because of the distribution of Crohn's disease and the fact that it is not exclusively found in the colon and rectum, surgical intervention is reserved for treatment of complications of the disease, usually after exhausted medical treatment. 


If surgical involvement is warranted, it can be accomplished by both open and laparoscopic methods. 


The surgeons in the UW Health Colon and Rectal Surgery group are leaders in the surgical treatment of Crohn's related disease and post operative care of this patient population. Furthermore, our surgeons work closely with our Gastroenterology colleagues to provide clear, multidisciplinary generated plans.