At Weill Cornell Medicine, we understand that living with inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease can be physically and emotionally challenging. While medication is often the first treatment option, many people with UC and Crohn’s disease may require surgery. Our experts are here to provide the compassionate and targeted surgical treatment you want.
Convenient, individualized care: The team of colon and rectal surgeons at Weill Cornell Medicine is uniquely able to help patients with complex conditions. With surgery, our goal is to conserve as much bowel as possible, lessen disease complications and help you achieve the best possible quality of life.
Multidisciplinary care from leading experts: Crohn’s disease and UC require comprehensive, collaborative care from both medicine and surgery. This unique multidisciplinary approach coordinates complex care, providing you with focused support — before, during, and after your surgery.
When you choose Weill Cornell Medicine, you have access to specialists in gastroenterology and hepatology, colon and rectal surgery, radiology, laboratory medicine and pathology, and rheumatology, as well as skin and wound care and nutrition.
In addition, our patients benefit from collaborative care with:
Weill Cornell Medicine partners with NewYork-Presbyterian, one of the top hospital systems in New York City and the U.S.
At Weill Cornell Medicine, our team of colon and rectal surgeons help patients suffering from UC and Crohn’s disease. Our team offers the most advanced and comprehensive surgical treatments available for these conditions, including minimally invasive colon and rectal surgical procedures.
Surgery may become necessary if you can no longer bear the symptoms of your disease or if you are no longer responding to your prescribed medications. You may consider surgery if your quality of life has been severely impacted despite medical treatment or if the side effects of the medications are significant.
For patients with UC, surgery may be necessary if the patient experiences a sudden, severe UC attack that cannot be controlled with medication. Surgery usually involves the removal of the colon and rectum. This is called a proctocolectomy, which might include:
● Total proctocolectomy with end ileostomy: A total proctocolectomy is when the anus is surgically removed in addition to the colon and rectum. An ileostomy is a surgical procedure that creates a hole in the abdomen (called a stoma) through which solid waste is emptied into a pouch.
● Proctocolectomy with ileal pouch-anal anastomosis: In this procedure, the colon and the rectum are removed, but the anus and anal sphincter muscles are preserved. The ileum is fashioned into a pouch, eliminating the need to wear a permanent external bag.
For patients with Crohn’s disease, surgery may be necessary if there is intestinal obstruction or blockage, excessive bleeding in the intestine, perforation of the bowel or a fistula. The type of surgery needed will depend on the location of the disease in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
● Strictureplasty: When a stricture (a narrowed section of the intestine due to chronic inflammation that causes the GI tract walls to thicken or form scar tissue) is present, it can lead to intestinal blockage. This surgical procedure repairs the stricture by widening the narrowed section without removing any part of the intestine.
● Small and large bowel resection: This procedure is done by removing damaged sections of the digestive tract and reconnecting the healthy sections.
● Proctocolectomy: A proctocolectomy is when the entire colon is removed in addition to the rectum. Our surgeons are experienced in recreating intestinal continuity by using “J” and other intestinal pouches that replace the removed rectum and avoid the use of a permanent ostomy bag.
● Colectomy: In a colectomy, the colon is surgically removed — joining the lower part of the small intestine (ileum) to the rectum. This procedure allows stool to pass through the anus without an external pouch.
● Fistula removal: Fistulas develop when inflammation causes sores, or ulcers, to form on the inside wall of the intestine. These ulcers can extend through the bowel wall, creating an abscess, or a collection of pus. Fistula removal surgery may be necessary if the infection doesn’t respond to medication.
At Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, we do everything we can to support our patients and their loved ones before, during and after treatment. Learn more about what to expect during your stay.
Whether you visit us virtually through a video visit or you see us in person, you can be assured that we will deliver the highest standards of care with compassion. Our team has taken every step to keep our facilities safe for you to continue your care. Learn more about our safety measures and the changes we’ve made to enhance your patient experience.
If you would like a remote second opinion, we can connect you directly with expert physicians and specialists at the Weill Cornell Medicine Colon and Rectal Surgery Division. They will review your individual situation, answer your questions and provide you with information you can share with your family and local practitioner. You can then decide to come to our facilities for treatment or choose to stay in your hometown and receive treatment locally. Learn more at WCM OnDemand Second Opinion.
The physicians at the Weill Cornell Medicine Colon and Rectal Surgery Division offer patients the highest level of safety and care. As a top-ranked academic medical center, you have access to our extensive network of specialists who provide seamless care throughout your treatment — to promote long-term physical and mental health.