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Endoscopic and medical management of fibrostenotic Crohn's disease.

  • Thienpont, Clara
  • Van Assche, Gert
Published Article
Digestive diseases (Basel, Switzerland)
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2014
32 Suppl 1
DOI: 10.1159/000367824
PMID: 25531351


Crohn's disease (CD) is a disease characterized by acute inflammation at diagnosis which evolves toward a more fistulizing and fibrostenotic disease phenotype over time. This leads to a high risk of bowel resections and ultimately short bowel with diarrhea and malabsorption, which represents a major part of the burden inflicted by CD. Bowel-conserving endoscopic and surgical procedures have therefore been developed. Specific antifibrotic medical therapies are currently lacking. Through-the-scope endoscopic balloon dilation has been described in several cohorts as an alternative to surgical resection or stricturoplasty in selected patients. Efficacy of endoscopic dilation is high, with an immediate success rate of 78% (between 73 and 100%), defined as the ability to pass with the scope through the stricture. However, symptomatic recurrence is frequent, with need for new dilatation in 41% and need for surgery in 42%, with a mean interval of 15 months. Adjunctive techniques such as local steroid or anti-TNF injections or stenting have not been conclusively proven to be of added benefit. We usually reserve endoscopic dilation for patients with short strictures (<5 cm) and nonpenetrating disease, preferably at the ileocolonic anastomosis. Similar to other interventions in endoscopy, endoscopic dilation has an intrinsic risk of complications which can be estimated at 2%. Balloon size and patient selection can serve to increase safety.


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