Introduction Use of biological therapies may reduce or delay the surgical procedures in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The aim of this meta-analysis and systematic review was to determine the impact of pre-operative infliximab (IFX) use on the rate of surgical interventions in patients with IBD and also the effect of preoperative IFX therapy on post-surgical complications. Material and methods Literature was searched for studies that investigated the efficacy of IFX on the rate of colectomy and post-operative complications/side effects in patients with IBD between 1966 and February 2011. Results Twelve articles were included in the meta-analysis. In comparison to control groups, patients who received IFX had a relative risk (RR) of 1.17 (p = 0.65) for the rate of colectomy, odds ratio of 3.34 (p = 0.09) in seven observational studies and RR of 0.74 (p = 0.79) in clinical trials for mortality. Summary RR of hospitalization was 0.61 (p = 0.005). Infections and anastomotic leak, pouch-related complications, sepsis and thrombotic events were more common in the patients under IFX therapy but post-operational hospitalization was lower. The patients with IBD who were under IFX therapy were most of the times refractive to other therapies and their disease was more severe. Conclusions Although IFX does not decrease the rate of colectomy in patients with IBD, it would not increase most of the post-operational side effects in the patients.