Treating Crohn’s Disease

Patients who have surgery for inflammatory bowel disorders such as Crohn’s disease recover quicker and have shorter hospital stays if they have laparoscopic surgery rather than traditional surgery.

Doctors have been using laparoscopic surgery, which is performed with a camera inserted into the body through a small incision, for many years. However, the technical difficulties involved in performing the surgery on patients with inflammatory bowel disorders have limited its use among these patients. French investigators studied 51 patients with bowel disorders, 46 of whom had Crohn’s disease. Twenty of the patients had laparoscopic surgery while another 26 had traditional open surgery.

Results revealed no significant differences in the outcome between the two groups, and there were no deaths in either group. Researchers report, on average, those in the laparoscopic group returned to normal bowel function a day earlier than did those in the open surgery group. Laparoscopic group members also were able to begin eating again about two days sooner, and had fewer postoperative complications. They were also released from the hospital seven days sooner than those in the open surgery group.

Investigators believe these results show laparoscopic surgery for Crohn’s disease is safe and could potentially be more cost effective than traditional surgery for the condition.

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