Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery

, Volume 397, Issue 1, pp 11–17

Surgical management of ulcerative colitis

Review Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00423-011-0848-x

Cite this article as:
Bennis, M. & Tiret, E. Langenbecks Arch Surg (2012) 397: 11. doi:10.1007/s00423-011-0848-x



Surgery is the only curative option in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. Despite advances in the medical management surgery is required in about a third of patients.

Surgical management

In the acute setting surgery is indicated when medical treatment fails to improve an episode of acute severe colitis. The intervention of choice is a staged colectomy with end ileostomy and preservation of the rectal stump in the first instance. Indications for elective surgery are failure of medical therapy and malignant transformation. The surgical options include conventional proctectomy with ileostomy or a Kock's continent ileostomy and colectomy with an ileorectal anastomosis. The current gold standard is restorative proctocolectomy with ileal pouch–anal anastomosis. Most frequently the technique includes a J pouch with a stapled anastomosis and temporary faecal diversion with a loop ileostomy. Laparoscopic pouch surgery is a feasible and safe option with an excellent cosmetic result.


Although the morbidity remains significant after surgery, the quality of life is good with a satisfactory long-term functional outcome.


Ulcerative colitisTreatmentSurgery

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Digestive SurgeryHôpital Saint-Antoine AP-HP, University Paris VI (Pierre et Marie Curie)Paris Cedex 12France