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Categories > What Up Doc >
Surviving Hospital Stays and Surgery
  • What You Need To Know First
  • A Little "Surgery Speak"
  • When Does Surgery Come Into The Picture?
  • Surgeries For Crohn's Disease
  • A Little More About This Ileostomy Thing
  • Surgeries For Ulcerative Colitis
  • Hospital Stays


What You Need To Know First

Surgery...GULP. In other words, going under the knife, having part of your intestines removed, and ending up with a scar and other "souvenirs." DOUBLE GULP.

For us UC and Crohn's folks, few things are scarier and more permanent than the S word. It's okay to be freaked out by it; most of us are. But with IBD, like with anything else, if you know what to expect, express your fears, and go in with the best attitude possible, you might just find tha
t you can cope.


A Little "Surgery-Speak"

You don't have to be an M.D. to understand those big words. Here's how to know the code:

  • Some surgery names end with "ectomy" (which means "removal") after the name of the body part. For instance, colectomy (colon + ectomy) means removing the colon.
  • Surgeries that end with "ostomy" mean connecting an internal organ (like the ileum, which is the small intestine) to the outside of the body. So if someone's talking about an ileostomy (ileum + ostomy), that's a surgery where the ileum is connected to an opening in the skin.
  • A resection is when a surgeon takes out the inflamed part of your intestine -- the one that's giving you all the trouble.
  • Anastamosis is done at the time of a resection; it's where the two healthy ends of your intestine are sewn back together.

 

When Does Surgery Come Into The Picture?

If your doctor's talking seriously about surgery as an option for you, that's probably because:

  • You've been on medication for a while and your disease isn't getting better.
  • Surgery is your best chance to end the constant pain, diarrhea, and bleeding, and have a better quality of life.
  • You're having an emergency situation where you've gotten very sick very fast, and surgery is the only thing that will help you at this point...and possibly save your life.

 

Surgeries For Crohn's Disease

There's good news and bad news when it comes to surgery and Crohn's disease.

We'll give you the bad news first:
Surgery can't cure Crohn's. If you have surgery to remove the affected part of your intestines, the disease might come back someday in a totally new area (tricky, eh?).

Now, the good news: Thanks to new medical developments, surgeons can get the job done much more easily, with smaller incisions (cuts in the skin) and shorter recovery times. Most importantly, remember that even though surgery won't make Crohn's go away for good,
it can make you feel a lot better and even put you into remission. It can change your life and put you back in the land of Normal.

 

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