Nearly a million Americans have ulcerative colitis, a disease that causes sore (ulcers) and inflammation in your large intestine (colon) and rectum. Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) with symptoms that develop slowly over time.
Ulcerative colitis can cause serious, life-threatening complications unless it’s actively and appropriately managed with medical care customized for your symptoms and the progression of the disease. At Desert West Surgery, our team is skilled in tailoring ulcerative colitis treatment, including conservative treatments and colon surgery, to help every patient achieve the best outcomes.
Ulcerative colitis treatments
There is no cure for ulcerative colitis, but there are treatments that can help manage the condition.
Many patients find their symptoms improve with medications. There are several types of medications used to manage ulcerative colitis, including:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation and irritation
- Immunosuppressive medications to slow down the overactive immune response
- Biologics that act on specific parts of the immune system
Ulcerative colitis affects people in different ways. The type and dosing of medication are tailored to achieve the best results. In addition to medication, our team recommends lifestyle changes, like changes in diet and stress management.
Surgery for ulcerative colitis
Sometimes, medications are ineffective in controlling the symptoms of ulcerative colitis, or a patient develops chronic bleeding, infections, or other complications. In these instances, surgery may be the best option to prevent further problems.
Surgery to treat ulcerative colitis is called a colectomy. During this surgery, all or part of your colon is removed. Some surgeries also remove part or all of your rectum.
There are two types of colectomy surgery: total colectomy and partial colectomy.
Also called proctocolectomy, a total colectomy removes all of the colon, rectum, and anus (the opening of the rectum). This is the most common approach for treating ulcerative colitis. At the end of the procedure, your surgeon creates a small opening to allow waste to exit into an ileostomy bag.
In this surgery, either part or all of the colon is removed, along with most or all of the rectum. Depending on the extent of your surgery, your surgeon may create a new rectum from the small bowel.
The team at Desert West Surgery is skilled in a variety of surgical techniques, including minimally invasive techniques using the da Vinci® Surgical System for robotic surgery. Minimally invasive surgery uses very tiny incisions and causes less tissue trauma and bleeding than open surgery, so your recovery typically is much faster.
The best treatment for your health
The symptoms and effects of ulcerative colitis often change over time. Having regular doctor visits and lab tests is critical for ensuring your treatment stays on track to keep you healthy. To learn more about ulcerative colitis treatment, including colon surgery, at our three locations in Las Vegas, Nevada, call Desert West Surgery or book an appointment online today.