Surgery is commonly used to treat Crohn’s disease. In fact, approximately half of all people who have Crohn’s disease in the small intestine will have surgery in the first 10 years after diagnosis. The most common type of surgery is a resection, which is used to remove diseased sections of the bowel.
One of the more common procedures is strictureplasty, which opens up a narrowed section of bowel. Unlike a resection surgery, no part of the bowel is removed during a strictureplasty, making it an appealing alternative to a resection when possible. Strictureplasty may be done alone, or it may be done at the same time as a resection.
How Does It Work?
During a strictureplasty, the surgeon guides an inflated balloon attached to a catheter through the intestine. If the balloon encounters resistance, it may indicate the presence of a stricture, which is a narrowing in the intestine.
To open up the stricture, a cut is made lengthwise along its length. The cut is then sewn up in the opposite direction, which has the overall effect of widening the stricture without removing any bowel. Multiple strictures may be treated during one surgery.
More Surgery May Be Needed
As with other surgeries used for Crohn’s disease, there is a risk of recurrence and of a subsequent need for more surgery. Overall, strictureplasty is considered to be an effective form of treatment, with an acceptable rate of recurrence.
Michelassi F, Taschieri A, Tonelli F, Sasaki I, Poggioli G, Fazio V, Upadhyay G, Hurst R, Sampietro GM, Fazi M, Funayama Y, Pierangeli F. "An International, Multicenter, Prospective, Observational Study of the Side-to-Side Isoperistaltic Strictureplasty in Crohn's Disease." Dis Colon Rectum 2007 3:277-284. 26 Apr. 2007.
Jacques Heppell, MD. "Patient information: Surgical treatment of Crohn's disease." UpToDate 12 Apr 2005. 26 Apr. 2007.
A.D.A.M. ”Crohn's Disease: Inflammatory Bowel Disease.” A.D.A.M., Inc. 2004. 26 Apr. 2007.