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Segmental rather than total colectomy may be a safe and effective choice for some patients with colonic Crohn’s disease (cCD), showing significantly lower rates of repeat surgery and reduced need for stoma, according to long-term data.

Gianluca Pellino, clip art sports medicine MD, with the department of advanced medical and surgical sciences, Università degli Studi della Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli” in Naples, Italy, led the study, which was published in the Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis.

CD of the colon has gotten less attention than the more prevalent small bowel disease, according to the authors, but it can be debilitating and permanently reduce quality of life. Isolated cCD incidence ranges between 14% and 32% of all CD cases from the start of disease. Historically, extensive resection has been linked with longer disease-free intervals, and reduced repeat surgeries compared with segmental resections. However, most of the data have included low-quality evidence and reports typically have not adequately considered the role of biologics or advances in perioperative management of patients with cCD, the authors wrote.

The Segmental Colectomy for Crohn’s disease (SCOTCH) international study included a retrospective analysis of data from six European Inflammatory Bowel Disease referral centers on patients operated on between 2000 and 2019 who had either segmental or total colectomy for cCD.

Among 687 patients (301 male; 386 female), segmental colectomy was performed in 285 (41.5%) of cases and total colectomy in 402 (58.5%). The 15-year surgical recurrence rate was 44% among patients who had TC and 27% for patients with segmental colectomy (P = .006).

The SCOTCH study found that segmental colectomy may be performed safely and effectively and reduce the need for stoma in cCD patients without increasing risk of repeat surgeries compared with total colectomy, which was the primary measure investigators studied.

The findings of this study also suggest that biologics, when used early and correctly, may allow more conservative options for cCD, with a fivefold reduction in surgical recurrence risk in patients who have one to three large bowel locations.

Morbidity and mortality were similar in the SC and TC groups.

Among the limitations of the study are that the total colectomy patients in the study had indications for total colectomy that were also higher risk factors for recurrence – for instance, perianal disease.

The authors wrote, “The differences between patients who underwent SC vs TC might have accounted for the choice of one treatment over the other. It is however difficult to obtain a homogenous population of cCD patients.” They also cite the difficulties in gathering enough patients for randomized trials.

“These findings need to be discussed with the patients, and the choice of operation should be individualised,” they concluded. “Multidisciplinary management of patients with cCD is of critical importance to achieve optimal long-term results of bowel-sparing approaches.”

Miguel Regueiro, MD, chair of the department of gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition at the Cleveland Clinic, who was not part of the study, told this publication the findings should be considered confirmatory rather than suggestive of practice change.

“If a patient has a limited segment of Crohn’s, for example ileocecal Crohn’s – a common phenotype – then the standard of care is a segmental resection and primary anastomosis,” he said. “If the patient has more extensive CD – perianal fistula, colonic-only CD – they’re more likely to undergo a total colectomy. This study confirms that.”

The authors and Regueiro declared no relevant financial relationships.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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