Skip to Content

Ulcerative Colitis: When Surgery Is Needed

Topic Overview

Surgery is likely to be needed for ulcerative colitis when:

  • Medicines and nutritional therapy have failed to manage severe symptoms.
  • Toxic megacolon does not respond to medical treatment within 4 days (or sooner in some cases).
  • Holes develop in the large intestine (perforation).
  • You have colon cancer, a significantly increased risk of cancer (detected by biopsies), or a narrowing in the intestine that cannot be distinguished from cancer, even if you do not have symptoms of active disease.
  • Severe, disabling complications occur outside the colon. But many complications do not respond to surgery.
  • Severe bleeding requires ongoing blood transfusions.
  • Slow growth or other serious complications occur in children.

People may choose to have surgery to improve their quality of life, cure ulcerative colitis, or prevent the possibility of colon cancer.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Peter J. Kahrilas, MD - Gastroenterology
Last Revised October 8, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Classes & Events

  • Sep
    22
    Monday
    5:30 PM - 6:30 PM
    This class will focus on the health benefits of fresh juice and smoothies.
  • Sep
    22
    Monday
    6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
    Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is a powerful program that teaches how to live directly with your moment-by-moment life experiences in affirming way.
  • Sep
    22
    Monday
    6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
    In this orientation, you will learn about the history, science, risks and benefits of attending to your life, moment-by-moment. You'll experience a sample MBSR class, including experiential practice and class exploration about this life-affirming approach.

Section Links

Health Library