: Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and mixed forms of inflammatory bowel disease afflict an estimated two million people in the U.S. For children and adolescents suffering from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, discerning the best course of treatment can sometimes be tricky.

Special diets, a variety of medication regimens, and stress reduction may help alleviate symptoms or even achieve disease remission in many patients. But, with no known cure for Crohn’s disease and a proven link between ulcerative colitis and colon cancer, surgical treatment is necessary for many pediatric patients afflicted with inflammatory bowel disease. Saleem Islam MD, a pediatric surgeon in UF’s department of surgery, leads UF Health’s pediatric IBD program along with colleagues in pediatric gastroenterology.

At UF Health’s Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic, pediatric surgeons, gastroenterologists, psychologists, radiologists, nutritionists, social workers, child life specialists, nurses and clinical pharmacists all work together to fully evaluate and treat each child or adolescent who comes through the doors. This team collaborates to help patients be as healthy as possible, while striving to minimize procedures that will further interrupt childhood or adolescence.

There are a variety of surgical treatments for these diseases. Many Crohn’s disease patients need to have only portions of their colon and bowel removed. Many ulcerative colitis patients undergoreconstructive proctocolectomy, which involves removing the colon and rectum, then constructing an ileoanal pouch inside the body (using your small bowel) to help retain continence.Strictureplasty is a technique in which our surgeon widens a portion of the bowel that has become narrow due to the damage and scarring caused by Crohn’s disease. Our surgeons also offer surgical treatment for complications of these diseases, such as abscesses and fistulas.

In addition to treating children with inflammatory bowel disease, UF Health’s IBD team researches outcomes among patients who undergo surgery, as well as the incidence of Crohn’s disease in children who have already undergone a colectomy to treat ulcerative colitis.