There is a high rate of stricturing post-operative recurrence in Crohn's disease (CD) particularly at sites of surgical anastomosis, and over 50% of these patients will require a repeat resection. Endoscopic dilatation of anastomotic strictures is an alternative to surgical resection in selected patients. We aimed to evaluate the safety and long term efficacy of endoscopic balloon dilatation of symptomatic anastomotic strictures in CD. Retrospective analysis of a prospectively maintained inflammatory bowel disease database of patients attending a single academic centre (n=1244 patients with CD) who underwent dilatation. Fifty-five dilatations were performed in 31 patients (mean age 43 ± SD 12, 47% female). Median follow-up period was 46 months (IQR 14-62). Ninety percent of patients had successful initial dilatation and no complications occurred. Six (21%) avoided further dilatations or surgery in the follow-up period. Stricture recurrence was detected in 22 patients; 15 (54%) patients had repeat dilatations and seven (25%) went straight to surgery. Eight (28%) patients were managed with repeat dilatations of the stricture (median dilatations=2 range 2-6) and seven (25%) required surgery despite repeat dilatations. Median time from first dilatation to repeat surgery was 14.5 months (IQR 3-28) and to repeat dilatation was 13.8 months (IQR 4-28). There was no difference in immunomodulator use, biologic use and smoking status between the groups requiring surgery versus dilatation only. Endoscopic balloon dilatation of anastomotic strictures is safe and effective in providing symptomatic relief in CD patients. Forty-five percent of patients had a sustained response to single/serial balloon dilatation with avoidance of further surgical resection for a median interval of 46 months. Post-operative medical therapy and smoking status did not predict requirement for recurrent dilatation or surgery.
University College Dublin ->