Age- and Sex-Specific Needs for Children Undergoing Inflammatory Bowel Disease Surgery: A Qualitative Study

J Surg Res. 2022 Jun:274:46-58. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2021.12.033. Epub 2022 Feb 2.


Introduction: The use of enhanced recovery protocols (ERP) is extending to pediatric surgical populations, such as patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). Given the variation in age- and sex-specific characteristics of pediatric IBD patients, it is important to understand the unique needs of subgroups, such as male versus female or preadolescent versus older patients, when implementing ERPs. We gathered clinician, patient, and caregiver perspectives on age- and sex-specific needs for children undergoing IBD surgery.

Methods: We used semistructured interviews and focus groups to assess ERP needs and perceived differences in needs between preadolescent (10-13 y), older (14-19 y), male, and female IBD patients. Participants included clinicians, patients who had recent IBD surgery, and patients' caregivers.

Results: Forty-eight clinicians, six patients, and eight caregivers participated. Three broad categories of themes emerged: concerns, needs, and experiences related to the (1) surgical care process; (2) continuum of IBD care; and (3) suggestions to make surgical care more patient centered. With regard to surgical care processes, stakeholders reported different communication needs for preadolescent and older children. Key themes about the continuum of IBD care were the need (1) for support from child life specialists and (b) to address young women's health issues. Suggestions to make surgical care more patient centered included providing older children with patient experiences that reflect their perspective as young adults.

Conclusions: The findings highlight the need to adopt a patient-centered approach for ERP use that actively addresses age- and sex-specific factors while engaging patients and caregivers as partners with clinicians to improve surgical care for children with IBD.

Keywords: Enhanced recovery pathway; Inflammatory bowel disease; Patient-centered care; Pediatrics; Surgery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Caregivers
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / surgery
  • Male
  • Qualitative Research
  • Young Adult