Long-term results of endoscopic balloon dilatation of lower gastrointestinal tract strictures in Crohn's disease: a prospective study

World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Jun 7;15(21):2623-7. doi: 10.3748/wjg.15.2623.


Aim: To examine the long-term results of endoscopic treatment in a prospective study conducted over a period of 10 years, 1997 to January 2007.

Methods: A total of 25 patients (20 female and five male: aged 18-75 years), with at least one symptom of stricture not passable with the standard colonoscope and with a confirmed scarred Crohn's stricture of the lower gastrointestinal tract, were included in the study. The main symptom was abdominal pain. The endoscopic balloon dilatation was performed with an 18 mm balloon under endoscopic and radiological control.

Results: Eleven strictures were located in the colon, 13 at the anastomosis after ileocecal resection, three at the Bauhin valve and four in the ileum. Four patients had two strictures and one patient had three strictures. Of the 31 strictures, in 30 was balloon dilatation successful in a single endoscopic session, so that eventually the strictures could be passed easily with the standard colonoscope. In one patient with a long stricture of the ileum involving the Bauhin valve and an additional stricture of the ileum which were 15 cm apart, sufficient dilatation was not possible. This patient therefore required surgery. Improvement of abdominal symptoms was achieved in all cases which had technically successful balloon dilatation, although in one case perforation occurred after dilatation of a recurrent stricture. Available follow-up was in the range of 54-118 mo (mean of 81 mo). The relapse rate over this period was 46%, but 64% of relapsing strictures could be successfully dilated again. Only in four patients was surgery required during this follow-up period.

Conclusion: We conclude from these initial results that endoscopic balloon dilatation, especially for short strictures in Crohn's disease, can be performed with reliable success. Perforation is a rare complication. It is our opinion that in the long-term, the relapse rate is probably higher than after surgery, but usually a second endoscopic treatment can be performed successfully, leading to a considerable success rate of the endoscopic procedure.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Catheterization / methods*
  • Crohn Disease / pathology
  • Crohn Disease / surgery*
  • Endoscopy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ileum / pathology
  • Ileum / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult