We report the outcome of 63 consecutive patients with Crohn's colitis treated by colectomy and ileorectal anastomosis between 1951-1981. There were no operative deaths. Serious postoperative complications occurred in 10 patients. The mean follow up since colectomy was 9.5 years. At 10 years the cumulative reoperation rate was 48% and the cumulative recurrence rate (based upon operative, radiological, and sigmoidoscopic evidence) was 64%. Ten patients have died during follow up. Two-thirds of the patients still under review have an intact ileorectal anastomosis. These results show that colectomy and ileorectal anastomosis is a useful operation in young patients with chronic ill health, diarrhoea, and anaemia in whom there is minimal anorectal disease. For suitable patients, the operation avoids the morbidity of a permanent stoma, pelvic dissection, and rectal excision. Recurrence developing in the ileum proximal to the anastomosis can often be resected and intestinal continuity preserved, whereas anorectal recurrence usually requires proctectomy.
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