Colitis Home > Ulcerative Colitis Surgery

There are several procedures that can be used to help treat ulcerative colitis. These surgeries can include a proctocolectomy with standard ileostomy, a proctocolectomy with continent ileostomy, and an ileoanal anastomosis. For the most part, surgery is effective at curing a person's ulcerative colitis.

An Overview of Surgery for Ulcerative Colitis

If you have severe ulcerative colitis, and medications and lifestyle changes aren't enough to relieve your symptoms, your doctor may recommend surgery. It's estimated that up to 4 out of every 10 people with ulcerative colitis will eventually need to have their colon (large intestine) and rectum removed.
Some other reasons that surgery for ulcerative colitis may be recommended include:
  • A perforation, or tear, in the intestine
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Toxic megacolon (acute widening of the colon)
  • A significant number of precancerous growths
  • Colon cancer.
While many people don't like the idea of having surgery, it's good to know that you don't need your large intestine to stay alive, and that ulcerative colitis surgery does usually cure this disease.

Types of Ulcerative Colitis Surgery

There are several ways that ulcerative colitis surgery can be done. If you need to have surgery, you and your healthcare professional should decide together which is the best option for you. Some of the different options for ulcerative colitis surgery include:
  • Proctocolectomy with standard ileostomy
  • Ileoanal anastomosis (or ileoanal pouch surgery or restorative proctocolectomy)
  • Proctocolectomy with continent ileostomy.
Proctocolectomy is the medical term that means removing the colon and rectum.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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