Initial surgical management of ulcerative colitis in the biologic era

Cristina B. Geltzeiler, Kim C. Lu, Brian S. Diggs, Karen E. Deveney, Kian Keyashian, Daniel O. Herzig, Vassiliki L. Tsikitis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The initial minimum operation for ulcerative colitis is a total abdominal colectomy. Healthy patients may undergo proctectomy at the same time; however, for ill patients, proctectomy is delayed. Since the introduction of biologic medications in 2005, ulcerative colitis medical management has changed dramatically. OBJECTIVE: We examined how operative management for ulcerative colitis has changed from the prebiologic to biologic eras. DESIGN: We conducted a retrospective review of data on patients with ulcerative colitis who were included in the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database. SETTINGS: This study was conducted at a single university. PATIENTS: A total of 1,547,852 patients with ulcerative colitis who were admitted to a US hospital from 1991 to 2011 were included in the study. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: We examined patients whose initial operation consisted of total abdominal colectomy without proctectomy versus a total proctocolectomy with or without a pouch. We also examined which operation was done at the time of the construction of an ileoanal pouch. Patients who underwent colectomy and pouch construction in the same hospitalization were compared with those who received pouch formation at a subsequent hospitalization. RESULTS: Ulcerative colitis-related admissions rose by 170% during the years examined, and the number of patients who required total abdominal colectomy increased by 44%. Total abdominal colectomy increased by 15%, as opposed to total proctocolectomy (p < 0.001). Pouch construction at a subsequent operation increased by 16% (p = 0.002). Since 2008, total abdominal colectomy has surpassed total proctocolectomy as the most common initial surgical intervention for ulcerative colitis. LIMITATIONS: The Nationwide Inpatient Sample is a retrospective database, and we were limited to examining the variables within it. CONCLUSIONS: Total abdominal colectomy is currently the most common initial operation for patients with ulcerative colitis, and an ileoanal pouch is more frequently constructed at a subsequent hospitalization. These trends coincide with the initiation of biologic treatments and may imply that patients are acutely ill at the time of initial operation. Alternately, there may be surgeon-perceived bias of increased surgical risk or a shift in care to specialized surgeons for pouch construction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1358-1363
Number of pages6
JournalDiseases of the colon and rectum
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2014


  • Biologic era
  • Ileoanal pouch
  • Operative management
  • Total abdominal colectomy
  • Total proctocolectomy
  • Ulcerative colitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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