Surgery for Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Children and Adolescents
Recent decades have seen a constant rise in the incidence of IBD in both adults and children. Despite considerable progress in the pharmacological treatment of this disease, surgery has become the more frequently used treatment modality in younger patients. In the presence of massive haemorrhage, free perforation, fulminate colitis or acute obstruction, only surgical intervention has a chance of saving the patient's life.
The aim of the study was to present the results of surgical treatment of IBD in children and adolescents who were operated on in a department which copes with "adult surgery" in its everyday practice.
Materials and methods. 235 patients were operated on for IBD in the years 1998-2005. There were 18 (7,66%) children in this group, 10 girls and 8 boys. 12 patients were diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (66.7 %) and (6) patients were diagnosed with Crohn's disease (33.3%). The age of the patients ranged from 12 to 17 years (mean 15.6). Among the 18 children, 10 (55.6%) were operated on for elective reasons and 8 (44.4%) of the interventions were emergencies (three perforations, two obstructions, one acute haemorrhage and one fulminate colitis). In all cases of ulcerative colitis, a two-step restorative proctocolectomy with J pouch anal anastomosis was performed. Patients with Crohn's disease were treated by limited (sparing)[it seems that either limited or sparing works here, pick one] bowel resection and/or strictureplasty.
Results. There were no postoperative deaths in the study group. Postoperative complications were observed in 6 (33.3%) patients, the complications were ileus in 3 patients (1 patient demanded relaparotomy), pneumonia in 2 patients and wound suppuration with subsequent dehiscence in 1 patient. In one patient treated preoperatively with large doses of Imuran, the postoperative histology revealed a malignant lymphoma. Hospital stays ranged from 8 to 19 days (mean 12 days).
Conclusions. Surgery for IBD in children and adolescents has become a widely accepted method, and it is often the only treatment modality that offers a chance of a cure. Restorative proctocolectomy should be considered earlier in many cases of younger patients with ulcerative colitis, prior to conservative treatment, as imunosupression and steroid therapy in particular produce undesired side effects. A consulting surgeon should be involved in the treatment of younger patients with IBD at a much earlier stage of therapy than is currently practiced.