An assessment has been made of 25 patients who have undergone ileorectal anastomosis for Crohn's disease. The rate of anastomotic leakage was high (32%) but was fatal in only one patient. The likelihood of leakage was not affected by a safety valve ileostomy, failure to excise all diseased bowel, or steroid therapy. The overall recurrence rate was 60 per cent. This was not affected by the age of the patient, duration of the disease, steroid therapy, or anastomotic leak but was affected adversely by the presence of concurrent small bowel disease and by residual rectal disease at the site of the anastomosis.
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