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Surgical Options | Overview

Learn about surgical treatment options for ulcerative colitis.

Summary points 

  • The goal of treatment for ulcerative colitis is to help children achieve and maintain a normal quality of life.

  • In general, most patients are managed with medications; however, some patients with more severe disease may require surgery to treat their ulcerative colitis.

  • Surgery for UC includes removal of the diseased colon and rectum, and is typically done in stages.

  • The decision to have surgery is a team decision that involves the patient and parents, the patient’s primary gastroenterologist, and the surgeon. Although removal of the entire colon in UC is considered to be a cure for the disease, the risks and benefits should be thoroughly reviewed.

  • The first stage includes removal of the colon, and creation of a J-pouch to replace the rectum and a temporary ileostomy so bowel movements can empty into a bag on the skin. In the second and final stage, the ileostomy is removed and the patient can have bowel movements in the regular fashion. Patients who are very ill at the time of surgery may need three stages to complete their surgery.