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Ulcerative Colitis

What is Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammation of the lining of the large bowel, or colon. It does not affect the small intestine. Unlike Crohn's disease, this disease is not recurrent and may be cured with surgery.

What are the symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis? How is it diagnosed?

Patients often experience rectal bleeding, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, weight loss, and fever. Patients with ulcerative colitis for more than 10 years are at an increased risk to develop colon cancer.

What is the treatment for Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis is initially treated with medicines. The traditional approach to treat ulcerative colitis with medication is to start treatment with the safest drugs after then switch to heavier medications if first-line drugs fail to relieve your symptoms. Ulcerative Colitis Surgery is recommended for patients not responding to medications, those on high dose of steroids, having side effects of medications, severe bleeding, perforation, stricture, having fever from the colon (toxic colitis), and cancer. We advocate early operation for Ulcerative colitis’s patients since surgery is curative and the ileoanal operation allows patients to have excellent quality of life without a stoma ("bag"). We have performed this operation laparoscopically.

Dr. Blumberg refers to this cutting edge technique as "band-aid surgery" due to the use of incisions no greater than 1-2 inches. Instead of making an incision the full length of the abdomen, laparoscopic Ulcerative Colitis Surgery involves just four small incisions, resulting in less discomfort, quicker recovery, and improved cosmetic look. In many cases, recovery time is reduced by half.

References: Blumberg D and Beck DE. Surgery for Ulcerative Colitis. Gastroenterol Clin N Am. 2002; 31: 219-35.

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