For people with Crohn's disease (CD), surgery can be used to remove diseased or damaged areas of the bowels.

Regardless of the treatment you're on, you should meet with your doctor on a regular basis to track your progress.

The role of surgery in Crohn's disease

Surgery cannot cure CD. But surgery can still help people with CD in many ways, including relieving symptoms and improving quality of life, by:

  • repairing damage done by the condition
  • removing diseased areas of the bowel
  • removing blockages in the bowel

About 3 out of 4 people with CD will have surgery at some point in their lives.

Making the decision about surgery

Surgery can be a useful treatment option for people with Crohn's disease. But it's important to understand the benefits and risks before making the decision to have surgery.

When you talk to your doctor about surgery, you may wish to ask:

  • What type of surgery would you recommend?
  • What parts of the bowel are removed during the surgery?
  • How long would I be in the hospital for the surgery?
  • What are the possible risks (e.g., infection, bleeding) and complications of the surgery?
  • How long does it usually take people to recover and return to their usual activities after surgery?
  • How would I get rid of solid wastes from my body after the surgery? Would I need to wear a pouch or a bag?
  • Will I need to make any adjustments to my diet after surgery?
  • Are there any alternatives to surgery that would be appropriate for me?

If you have questions about surgery, talk to your doctor.