Surgery for Crohn's disease and anti-TNF agents: the changing scenario

Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013 Nov;7(8):689-700. doi: 10.1586/17474124.2013.842895.


Surgery has been a mainstay of therapy for Crohn's disease for a long time, essentially as a consequence of the fairly modest efficacy of traditional medications such as immunomodulators, antibiotics and 5-ASA, especially in severe cases. However, in the past decade and half, the advent of anti-TNF agents has greatly changed the medical approach to this disease and may modify its general management as well. Here, we have reviewed the current literature on incidence of surgery, timing of surgery and postoperative recurrence of Crohn's disease before and after the advent of anti-TNF agents. In addition, we have reviewed the risk of perioperative complications in patients on anti-TNF agents before surgery. The data show that the use of these medications is changing or expecting to change shortly a number of surgical aspects of Crohn's disease management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biological Products / adverse effects
  • Biological Products / therapeutic use*
  • Crohn Disease / diagnosis
  • Crohn Disease / drug therapy*
  • Crohn Disease / immunology
  • Crohn Disease / surgery*
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures* / adverse effects
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / adverse effects
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Patient Selection
  • Remission Induction
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Biological Products
  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha