Risks of Surgery
Every surgery has risks, even in healthy people. Complications such as pneumonia, wound infection, wound hernia, postoperative bowel obstruction, and blood clots in leg veins may occur, Church said.
- The risks specific to Crohn’s disease depend on your overall health. You could:
- Become malnourished if your digestive track can’t process certain nutrients
- Need treatment that involves taking new drugs
- Become anemic
- Experience an infection
If you have other health issues, surgery could pose additional risks. These include poor wound healing and other complications.
The most common area of the GI tract to be resected in Crohn’s disease is the last part of the small intestine, called the terminal ileum. “This is where vitamin B12 is absorbed and where bile salts are resorbed out of the stool,” Church said. Changes to the intestine could affect how well your body absorbs fats and vitamins, so your doctor will want to know about any new symptoms you experience after surgery.
Many people with Crohn’s who have resection surgery do have an improved quality of life, Delaney noted. They can get off most or all medications and don’t have active disease for many years.
Crohn’s can’t be cured, but with continued treatment your symptoms should improve. However, because Crohn’s disease can flare up in previously healthy parts of the bowel, it’s possible that you’ll need another surgery at some point in the future. However, thanks to ongoing research and clinical trials, there’s hope of finding more effective treatments for Crohn’s disease.