When to Consider Surgery for Crohn's Disease

Posted on 2022/02/08 by Laparoscopic Surgical Center of New York

The thought of surgery can be scary. But for some situations, it is necessary. In the case of Crohn’s disease, many people eventually require surgery. It improves the quality of their lives and probably saves them from medical complications.

What Are the Primary Goals of the Surgery?

You may need surgery to treat Crohn’s disease for several reasons. One of them may be because of complications from the disease. Some of these complications are more dangerous than not getting the surgery. The primary goals of getting surgery if you have Crohn’s disease include:

  • Achieving the best possible quality of life.

  • Conserve as much bowel as possible.

  • Alleviate disease complications.

Crohn’s Surgeries

There is no one-size-fits-all surgery for Crohn’s disease. There are different types of surgery, depending on the factors affecting your condition. These include the reason for surgery, which part of the digestive tract needs treatment, and the seriousness of your situation.

Why Get Surgery

Sometimes, surgery is not a choice but a necessity. Medication alone may not help control the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. Complications may develop and create the need for more aggressive measures. In this case, that would be surgery.

If you believe you have any complications in the list below, seek medical attention. Confirm from your doctor if you are a candidate for surgery.

Excessive Intestinal Bleeding

When Crohn’s disease affects the large intestine, rectal bleeding occurs. It creates the risk of blood clots forming in the veins and arteries. Although it is a rare complication, intestinal bleeding may require surgery if other treatments cannot control it.

Intestinal Obstruction

Crohn’s disease can cause chronic inflammation in the intestines. It thickens the walls of the digestive organs and forms scar tissue. It can narrow the intestines and lead to obstruction. The symptoms of intestinal obstruction include constipation, nausea, vomiting, and crampy abdominal pain.

You will also note the inability to have a bowel movement. You may require surgery to remove that portion of the bowel.

Perforation of the Bowel

Chronic inflammation in the intestines may weaken their wall and cause a perforation. Perforations may also happen around areas where the wall narrows or forms a stricture. In this area, the bowel can expand and weaken; the result is a perforation.

The intestinal contents can spill into the abdomen through the perforation and cause an infection. You will need surgery to treat this complication.


The abdomen can develop an abscess or collection of pus due to Crohn’s disease. It can result in severe pain, fever, and painful bowel movements. The collection of pus requires antibiotics and surgical drainage to help improve your quality of life.


Sometimes, the inflammation causes sores or ulcers inside the intestinal walls. The ulcers can form a tunnel between the intestines and other organs or two parts of the intestine. The tunnel or fistula can form around the anal area, where it causes drainage of stool or mucus.

There are many other Crohn’s disease complications that will require you to get surgery. If you realize you have any of them, seek help from your doctor.

For more information on Crohn’s disease, visit the Laparoscopic Surgical Center of New York at our office in New York, New York. You can call (212) 879-6677 today to schedule an appointment.

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