Long-term outcome after ileocecal resection for Crohn's disease

Am Surg. 1997 Jul;63(7):627-33.


The decision to operate on ileocecal Crohn's disease is usually tempered by concern for early recurrence and the potential for multiple small bowel resections that will render the patients a gastroenterological cripple. However, delays in surgical management may unnecessarily prolong the patient's disease state and risk complications from both medications and unchecked disease. The aim of this study was to report the long-term clinical outcome of patients undergoing ileocecal resection for Crohn's disease between 1970 and 1993. One hundred eighty-one patients underwent ileocecal resection for Crohn's disease during the study period, with a median follow-up of 14.3 years. The mean age at the first resection was 32.7 +/- 0.9 years, and the male female ratio was 79:102. The indications for the initial resection were intractability in 119 (68.4%), obstruction in 45 (25.9%), enteric fistula in 27 (15.5%), perforation in 16 (9.2%), intra-abdominal abscess in 7 (4.0%), and hemorrhage in 5 (2.9%). Postoperative complications included prolonged ileus in 13 (7.5%), pneumonia/atelectasis in 15 (8.6%), wound infection in 11 (6.3%), urinary tract infection in 10 (5.7%), intra-abdominal abscess in 7 (4.0%), and wound dehiscence in 1 (0.6%). There were no operative mortalities. Fifty-six (30.9%) developed a recurrence requiring further surgery, with the mean time interval between initial ileocecal resection and operation for recurrence being 72.3 +/- 7.6 months. A second recurrence developed in 19 patients (10.5%) with a mean time interval of 52.3 +/- 8.3 months. The most frequent sites of first recurrence were the preanastomotic ileum in 49 (87.3%), the postanastomotic colon in 10 (17.9%), other colonic sites in 16 (28.6%), and other small bowel sites in 2 (3.6%) and other sites in 4 (7.1%). The types of resection for first recurrence were ileal resection in 28 (50%), right hemicolectomy in 17 (30.4%), segmental colectomy in 6 (10.7%), total proctocolectomy in 3 (5.4%), and proximal small bowel resection in 2 (3.6%). The long-term follow-up of this patient cohort indicated that 125 (69.1%) had only one resection, 37 (20.4%) required two resections, 15 (8.3%) required three resections, 4 (2.2%) required four resections. The results indicate that ileocecal resection of Crohn's disease had a high rate of disease control obtained with low morbidity, and a low frequency of three or more bowel resections (2.2%). Therefore, surgical resection of ileocecal Crohn's disease should not be unduly delayed for fear of risking short bowel syndrome. This approach should minimize overall disease-related patient morbidity by avoiding long periods of chronic illness.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cecum / surgery*
  • Colectomy* / methods
  • Crohn Disease / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ileum / surgery*
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome