Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a spectrum of disorders related to the colon and small intestine that causes the intestines to become inflamed (red and swollen). The inflammation is painful and typically lasts a long time, returning over and over again. UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh provides comprehensive, state-of-the-art clinical care, including minimally invasive surgery, to control the symptoms of IBD and to improve the quality of life for children with the disease.

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh uses the latest advances in treating patients with an inflammatory bowel disorder. IBD patients treated by a pediatric surgeon often are referred from a pediatric or general gastroenterologist. Most have already received medical treatment in an attempt to manage the disease.

IBD conditions that may be treated surgically include ulcerative colitis (contained in the colon) or Crohn’s disease (can be anywhere in digestive tract).

By using the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques, pediatric surgeons at Children’s Hospital facilitate a quicker recovery, allowing patients to eat and return to their normal activities sooner. When possible, a laparoscopic procedure with state-of-the-art equipment and practices is chosen, optimizing recovery time.

In general, surgery involves removing a small section of the affected area. This may mean removing a portion of the colon through a procedure known as an ilioanal pull-through, where a section of the lining of the rectum is separated and repositioned without involving the muscles, allowing stool to pass normally.

While surgery may not cure IBD, it provides a better quality of life for a length of time. The cutting-edge approach by surgeons at Children’s allows patients to manage their disease when other medical treatment has not been effective. Although, it’s estimated that about half of the patients may experience a recurrence within 20 years.