, Volume 23, Issue 7, pp 689-696
Date: 13 Mar 2008

Through the endoscope balloon dilation of ileocolonic strictures: prognostic factors, complications, and effectiveness

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About half of all Crohn’s disease (CD) patients undergo surgery at some point, many because of strictures. An alternative possibility is to dilate strictures endoscopically. However, little is known about prognostic factors.

Patients and methods

Thirty-two patients with primary CD (n = 2), radiogenic strictures (n = 1), or postoperative strictures (27 because of CD; 2 after resection because of cancer), were planned to undergo colonoscopic dilatation of which 25 patients were dilated (10 men; 15 women; median age 48). Length of stenosis, diameter of stricture, balloon size, smoking status, ulcer in the stricture, passage postdilatation, hemoglobin level, complications, redilatation, and subsequent surgery were recorded. Only patients with at least 6 months follow up were included.


Five out of 32 patients had no stenosis, marked inflammation, or fistulas adjacent to the stricture. One patient each had a long stricture (8cm) or a filiform stenosis ruling out dilatation [technical success, 25/27 (92.6%)]. Among these 25 patients, 39 colonoscopies with 51 dilatations were performed. After a single dilatation, 52% were asymptomatic while 48% needed another intervention, half of them surgery. Bleeding without need for transfusion occurred in 3 out of 39 colonoscopies and one perforation required surgery. Significant prognostic factors were smoking and ulcers in the stricture (P < 0.05 each). Some ulcers led to intussusception requiring surgery in spite of good dilatation results.


Through the endoscope balloon stricture dilatation is a relatively safe and often effective treatment modality in ileocolonic strictures. The presence of ulcers in the stricture have a worse outcome as do smokers.