Eighty patients were asked if they would have preferred their ileocolonic resection and anastomosis for Crohn's disease, to have been carried out sooner, later or at the same time as it was done. Seventy of the patients replied (88%). No patient would have preferred their operation to have been later, while 74% thought it should have been earlier. A preferred operation time was given for 69 resections, between 0 months--that is, at the same time--and 15 years earlier. The median preferred operation time was 12 months earlier (95% confidence intervals 18 months earlier to 7 months earlier). The remaining 18 patients were satisfied with the timing of their operation. Reasons given for earlier surgery in 58 resections included the severity of Crohn's symptoms preoperatively (97%), the ability to eat normally after resection (86%), feeling of well being after the resection (62%), and abolishing the need for drugs (43%). Patients preferring an earlier operation time were less likely to have had a previous resection (13/58) than patients in the 'same time' group (10/21, chi 2 = 4.746; p < 0.05).
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