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About inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

IBD refers to disorders that involve chronic inflammation of the digestive tract.  There are two main types of IBD: ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD).  If it is unclear if the patient has ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, it’s often referred to as indeterminate colitis or IBD undifferentiated (IBD-U).  

Ulcerative colitis is confined to the colon and rectum and usually presents in children with abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea.

Crohn's disease can affect the entirety of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus and can manifest in many ways, including but not limited to abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and perianal pain. It can also present without any gastrointestinal symptoms, manifesting as poor growth, delayed sexual development or chronic unexplained fever. It most commonly affects the end of the small intestine and/or beginning of the large intestine, and it can cause intestinal blockages, perforations and abnormal connections from the diseased intestines to other areas.

Our approach to treatment

Cohen Children’s is a national leader in caring for children and young adults with IBD; we treat a high volume of patients and have excellent outcomes. Our expert gastroenterologists, nurse practitioners, nutritionists, radiologists, pathologists and surgeons work together in a collaborative way for the best possible care.  Our team is dedicated to advancing the medical and surgical management of IBD in children regionally and nationally.

We take a personalized approach to the care of every patient, recognizing that not every treatment is the right solution for every patient. We offer nutritional, as well as cutting edge immunomodulatory and biologic approaches to manage IBD.

Advanced surgical care

There are many medical options for children with ulcerative colitis. Surgery is generally reserved for children with severe UC who don’t respond to medical management. When surgery is necessary, we carefully remove the entire colon and rectum with the ultimate goal of reconstruction with a “J-pouch”. This is usually accomplished in two to three stages.

We also care for many children with Crohn's disease who require surgery. Surgical procedures range from intestinal resections to operations for perianal disease. We use minimally invasive approaches whenever possible for all of our patients, and we practice state-of-the-art enhanced recovery practices for quicker healing with minimal pain.

Groundbreaking research and clinical trials

For more than 30 years, we’ve been involved in innovative research focused on alleviating the symptoms, healing the bowel and improving the quality of life of our patients. Our group actively participates with physician scientists around the country and the globe in collaborative research projects designed to improve our understanding of the causes and nature of IBD and its complications. We also participate in clinical trials, giving our patients access to novel, potentially life-changing therapies. In addition, we work closely with other specialists, developing improved methods to predict, diagnose and follow the progression of IBD.

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