Ulcerative colitis is a medical condition involving the inflammation of the lining of the large bowel (colon and rectum), and is associated with symptoms including: diarrhea, weight loss, fevers, abdominal cramping and rectal bleeding. Although the cause of ulcerative colitis has not been determined, patients who have suffered from severe ulcerative colitis for an extended period of time have a higher risk of developing cancer of the large bowel.
Treatment for ulcerative colitis depends on the severity of the symptoms and how the patient responds to various medical measures. The initial phase of ulcerative colitis treatment employs the use of non-surgical medications, such as: antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, prednisone, and (when necessary) immunomodulators such as 6-mercaptopurine or azathioprine. These medications can be used to control the disease on a long-term basis, and their dose can be increased for short-term treatment of ulcerative colitis “flare-ups.”
For ulcerative colitis patients who present with severe or life-threatening complications (i.e. infection, massive bleeding, perforation), and who have not responded to the initial phase of medical therapy, surgery may be required. There are a number of surgical options for ulcerative colitis treatment, including:
- Proctocolectomy: involves the removal of the entire colon, rectum and anus, and the creation of a Brooke ileostomy, wherein the end of the remaining bowel is brought through the abdominal wall, and an appliance is utilized to collect waste from the bowel
- Continent Ileostomy: similar to a Brooke ileostomy, but does not require an external appliance because an internal reservoir is created and drained 3-4 times a day
- Ileoanal Surgery: involves the removal of the colon and rectum, with preservation of the anal canal—the rectum is replaced with a small pouch formed by the small bowel, which acts as a reservoir to maintain a normal route of defecation
Each surgical alternative has its advantages and drawbacks, and it is important to discuss all of your surgical options with your colorectal surgeon in order to determine which course of treatment is optimal for your specific case.
For additional information, please use the following link: Ulcerative Colitis
At Pinnacle Colon and Rectal Surgeons, Dr. Ann L. Kalhorn and Dr. Eugene M. Kim are well respected and board certified colon and rectal surgeons. They have received specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions pertaining to the colon, rectum and anus. We work collaboratively with you to ease painful symptoms and ensure the safe and successful resolution of your colorectal issues. If you would like additional information about treatment, please contact our office today. We look forward to speaking with you and to scheduling your consultation with Dr. Kalhorn or Dr. Kim.