Risks of surgery for Crohn’s disease
All surgical procedures carry certain risks. If you’re having surgery for Crohn’s disease, it’s possible for your surgeon to cut an area of healthy bowel accidentally, which could result in significant bleeding. Additional risks include the following:
Any surgery that involves incisions carries risks for infection. Opening the body cavity makes it possible for harmful bacteria to enter and infect the body. Surgical incisions may also become infected after surgery if they aren’t cared for properly.
The small intestine is responsible for digesting a lot of the nutrients in your food. Surgery to remove all or a portion of your small intestine can cause malabsorption. This condition affects your body’s ability to absorb enough nutrients, which increases your risk for nutritional deficiencies.
Marginal ulcers may develop at the site where your surgeon sews the intestine back together. This prevents the area from healing properly. The result can be very painful and lead to infection or bowel perforation.
Pouchitis can occur after your surgeon removes the colon if they reconnected the end of your small bowel to your anus. This procedure is called an ileoanal anastamosis. During this procedure, your surgeon creates a J-shaped pouch to collect waste and slow the transit of that waste to the anus. This reduces incontinence. Pouchitis occurs if this J-shaped pouch becomes inflamed. Common symptoms of pouchitis include a loss of bowel control, blood in the stool, and a fever.
Strictures, or scarring, might develop at the surgery site. The resulting damage may make it difficult for digested food and stool to pass through your body. This can eventually lead to a small bowel obstruction or bowel perforation.
There’s also a chance that some surgeries won’t work as intended and the symptoms may continue.
It’s important that you and your doctor discuss these risks before surgery. Typically, surgery isn’t recommended if the risks outweigh the benefits.
Minimizing your risks for post-procedure complications involves listening carefully to your doctor’s instructions after surgery. This includes keeping your incisions clean and dry and following any special diet your doctor may recommend.