Ulcerative Colitis Surgery

Ulcerative colitis affects only the rectum and colon. It is a disease of the lining of the large intestine and does not affect deeper layers of the bowel or the small intestine. Most of the time, ulcerative colitis can be successfully treated with medical therapies. When these medical therapies are not enough, surgery can be offered. The surgery for ulcerative colitis can involve removing either parts of the colon or the entire colon and rectum. Doing this is often termed “curative” because the diseased area has been removed. If just the affected area of the colon is removed, it is called a resection. This is usually done in one procedure and can be done as an open surgery or often as a laproscopic surgery.

In instances where a much larger section of the colon and rectum are involved, the entire colon and rectum are removed and often reconstructed. In most cases the anus can be preserved with an ileoanal pullthrough. This surgery is usually done in two stages. At the first operation, the affected area of the colon and or rectum are removed and then a portion of the small intestine can be used to make a “neorectum” and this is then connected to the anus. A temporary ileostomy bag is then created. After approximately 8-12 weeks, this temporary bag can be taken away and then the patient can then evacuate in a normal fashion.