Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Crohn’s Disease

The Colon and Rectal Surgeons at Mount Sinai have a long history in the surgical management of Crohn’s disease, which was first discovered at Mount Sinai in 1932.

Crohn's disease is linked to the body’s overactive immune system response, classifying it as an autoimmune disorder. It causes chronic inflammation of the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, sometimes expanding deep into the layers of bowel tissue. This can result in abdominal discomfort, ulcers, bleeding, diarrhea, and even malnourishment.

Crohn's Disease can be both painful and debilitating, and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications. There is no known cure for Crohn's disease, but there are therapies, including surgery, that can greatly reduce the signs and symptoms of Crohn's disease. Some of these can greatly improve the quality of patients’ lives and, in some cases, can lead to long-term remission.

Surgery for Crohn’s Disease

When symptoms of Crohn’s disease are not responding to medication, your physician may recommend surgery, especially if there are complications, such as bleeding, fistulas, infections, or narrowing of the bowel.

Your surgeon may recommend removing the damaged part of the intestine and connecting the two healthy ends of the bowel. Surgery may also be used to close fistulas, remove scar tissue or drain abscesses. If a segment of the intestine has become too narrow, your surgeon may recommend a procedure that widens the affected area.

While surgery will not cure Crohn’s disease, it often can improve quality of life for patients, in many cases, for years at a time.

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a severe and chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which causes inflammation of the large intestine (colon). It is characterized mainly by abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea. Ulcerative colitis can be debilitating and sometimes can lead to life-threatening complications. It usually affects only the innermost lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum, and occurs only through continuous stretches of your colon. Although there is no known medical cure for ulcerative colitis, there are therapies, including surgery, that are available, many of which may dramatically reduce the signs and symptoms of this disease and even bring about long-term remission.

Surgery for Ulcerative Colitis

Surgery may be recommended in some cases of ulcerative colitis, especially if symptoms persist or worsen in spite of the best medical care, if serious complications or drug side effects develop, or if cancerous or precancerous changes occur in your colon. The surgeons at Mount Sinai use both open surgery and the most advanced minimally invasive techniques to treat ulcerative colitis.

Minimally invasive surgery generally uses small "keyhole" incisions, as opposed to a large open incision. The surgeon inserts surgical instruments through ports in these small incisions, and performs the procedure using images sent from the camera to a computer monitor. These minimally invasive techniques have many benefits to patients including shorter hospital stays, less pain, and a faster recovery time.

Surgery for ulcerative colitis can usually be performed to restore intestinal function to near normal. Although most surgeons at other centers usually require at least a temporary ileostomy (a surgical procedure in which an opening called a ‘stoma’ is created in the ileum, allowing the stool to exit the body into an appliance) as part of the surgery, at Mount Sinai, our surgeons frequently perform the procedure without an ileostomy at all.


Schedule an Appointment

The Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery
5 East 98th Street, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10029
Tel: 212-241-3547
Fax: 212-534-2654