Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Surgery

Abdominal pain patient woman having medical exam with doctor
Diagram comparing the 2 types of inflammatory bowel disease

While it is not always the first choice for managing IBD, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) surgery in Raleigh may become necessary in certain situations. IBD presents a unique challenge to both patients and healthcare providers due to its chronic and unpredictable nature. Medical therapies often provide effective management, but some patients may ultimately require surgical intervention to alleviate symptoms, address complications, or improve their overall quality of life.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) includes two chronic diseases of the digestive tract: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC). If you have IBD, your specialist will recommend treatment based on your symptoms, health history, the severity of your condition, and personal risk factors. Many people with IBD need to undergo surgical treatment at some point in their life.

IBD Overview and Surgical Options

Understanding IBD is the first step in navigating the complexities of its surgical treatments. Crohn’s Disease, characterized by inflammation anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract, and Ulcerative Colitis, which affects the colon and rectum, often necessitate surgical intervention. 

If you are dealing with IBD, you have several surgical procedures to explore. Surgical options include colectomy, ileostomy, and bowel resection, each tailored to the patient’s unique needs.

Good Candidates for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Surgery

Patients who are suffering from IBD and want permanent relief would be good candidates for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) surgery. Patients who smoke will need to quit before the surgery and must also avoid alcohol consumption. Certain health conditions can affect the safety of the procedure, so all pre-existing conditions must be discussed during your consultation.

Patients who are highly recommended for surgery include those with complications of IBD such as strictures (narrowing of the intestine), abscesses, fistulas (abnormal connections between organs), or perforations.

Surgery is often considered when medical treatments such as medications (e.g., corticosteroids, immunomodulators, biologics) fail to adequately control symptoms or complications. Surgical intervention becomes necessary if Inflammatory Bowel Disease adversely affects a patient’s life with frequent hospitalizations or severe pain.

Your Consultation

Patients will need to answer questions during their consultation for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) surgery. Symptoms must be discussed, along with details about their medical history, including any medications that they are taking. Your medical history will be assessed in depth to ascertain you are eligible for the surgery.

The process of IBD surgery will be explained clearly during the visit. Steps that patients need to take to prepare for the surgery will be discussed. Patients can take the time to ask any questions or bring up any concerns that they might have. You may also be given specific instructions on post-operative care to facilitate faster healing.

Types of IBD Surgical Procedures

1. Colectomy – involves the removal of all or part of the colon, offering relief for conditions like Ulcerative Colitis.

  • Benefits: Reduced symptoms, improved quality of life.
  • Considerations: Potential impacts on bowel habits and lifestyle adjustments.

2. Ileostomy – creates an opening in the abdomen, diverting the small intestine to a stoma. Waste passes into a bag, bypassing the colon.

  • Benefits: Effective for managing symptoms, potential improvement in nutritional absorption.
  • Considerations: Lifestyle adjustments after IBD surgeries, stoma care.

3. Bowel Resection – Removing a damaged portion of the intestine while preserving the healthy parts.

  • Benefits: Targeted treatment, preservation of bowel function.
  • Considerations: Post-surgical recovery and potential impact on digestive processes.
Preparing for IBD Surgery

Effective IBD surgery preparation is crucial for a successful surgical experience. Pre-operative care involves a combination of medical consultations, diagnostic tests, and lifestyle changes. 

On top of the medical side in preparing for surgery, patients should engage in open communication with their healthcare team. They should adhere to dietary recommendations, and, if applicable, address emotional and psychological aspects of surgery.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Surgeries

The surgery performed to correct your IBD will depend on the type of IBD you are experiencing. Open, laparoscopic, or robotic surgery may be performed.

For patients with Crohn’s disease, either perianal or abdominal surgery will be necessary. Perianal surgery can address fistulas, abscesses, strictures, and more, and in some cases, it is relatively simple. Abdominal surgery involves removal of colon or small-bowel segments.

For patients with ulcerative colitis, removal of the colon may be occur, and removal of the rectum may also be necessary. A pouch system will then be created to ensure proper functionality of the digestive tract.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Surgery Recovery

Instructions will be provided for patients to follow during the recovery period after Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) surgery. Patients will experience swelling, tenderness, and bruising around the affected area. There should be as little physical exertion as possible while patients are recovering. Baths should also be avoided, and patients can instead take showers as directed.

Pain is common after surgery, and pain medication will be prescribed as needed. Pain gradually decreases over time. Depending on the surgery, patients may need to continue some IBD medications or start new ones to prevent disease recurrence. Proper care of surgical incisions or ostomies is essential to prevent infection and promote healing.

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Learn more about Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) surgery in Raleigh—contact us today to arrange an informative consultation.

IBD Surgery FAQs

Here are some of the common questions based on patient inquiries.

What is the typical recovery time after IBD surgery?

Recovery times vary based on the type of surgery and individual factors. Most patients can expect a few weeks of initial recovery, during which activities may be limited. It’s important to follow post-operative care instructions, attend follow-up appointments, and gradually reintroduce normal activities under your healthcare team’s guidance.

Will I be able to resume my normal activities after IBD surgery?

Yes. In most cases, patients can gradually resume their normal activities after IBD surgery. The timeline for returning to regular routines varies; follow your healthcare team’s guidance. Factors such as the type of surgery, individual recovery progress, and overall health will influence the pace of resuming activities.

Will I need ongoing monitoring and follow-up care after IBD surgery?

Yes, regular monitoring and follow-up care are integral to post-IBD surgery management. Your healthcare team will schedule follow-up appointments to assess your progress, address any concerns, and make adjustments to your treatment plan if needed. Ongoing monitoring helps ensure optimal recovery and long-term health.

Will I experience changes in bowel habits after IBD surgery?

Changes in bowel habits are possible after IBD surgery, depending on the type of procedure. Your healthcare team will discuss potential changes and strategies for managing them. It’s important to be open about any concerns related to bowel habits, as this information helps tailor post-operative care to your individual needs.

How soon can I return to work or school after IBD surgery?

The timeline for returning to work or school depends on the type of surgery and individual recovery. Some patients may resume normal activities within a few weeks, while others may need more time. Discuss this with your healthcare team, and consider factors such as physical demands and stress levels when planning your return.