Free perforation in Crohn's disease

Nahum Werbin, Riad Haddad, Ron Greenberg, Eliad Karin, Yehuda Skornick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Free bowel perforation is one of the indications for emergency surgery in Crohn's disease. It is generally accepted that 1-3% of patients with Crohn's disease will present with a free perforation initially or eventually in their disease course. Objectives; To evaluate the incidence and treatment results of free perforation in patients with Crohn's disease and, based on our experience, to suggest recommendations. Methods: Between 1987 and 1996, 160 patients with Crohn's disease were treated in our department and were followed for a mean period of 5 years. Results: Of the 83 patients (52%) requiring surgical intervention, 13 (15.6%) were operated due to free perforation. The mean age of the perforated CD was 33 ± 12 years and the mean duration of symptoms prior to surgery was 6 years. The location of the free perforation was the terminal ileum in 10 patients, the rnid-ileum in 2 patients, and the left colon in 1 patient. Surgical treatment included 10 ileocecectomies, 2 segmental resections of small bowel, and resection of left colon with transverse colostomy and mucus fistula in one patient. There was no operative mortality. Postoperative hospital stay was 21 ± 12 days (range 8-55 days). Ail patients were followed for 10-120 months (mean 58.0 ± 36.7). Six patients (42%) required a second operation during the follow-up period. Conclusion: The incidence of free perforation in Crohn's disease in our experience was 15.6%. We raise the question whether surgery should be offered earlier to Crohn's disease patients in order to lower the incidence of free perforation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-177
Number of pages3
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2003


  • Crohn's disease
  • Free perforation
  • Peritonitis


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