Clinical Outcomes of Surgery Versus Endoscopic Balloon Dilation for Stricturing Crohn’s Disease

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Endoscopic balloon dilation and surgery are commonly practiced in stricturing Crohn’s disease. Nonetheless, there are still scant data directly comparing these 2 strategies.


The aim of this study was to compare the short- and long-term outcomes of endoscopic balloon dilation versus surgical resection in symptomatic Crohn’s strictures.


This was a retrospective cohort study.


The study was conducted at a single tertiary center.


Seventy-nine patients were identified, 40 in the surgical group and 39 in the endoscopic balloon dilation group (mean age 42.8 ± 13.9 versus 38.5 ± 12.2 years).


The outcomes of all patients referred for endoscopic balloon dilation were compared with patients referred to surgery because of stricturing disease between the years 2006 and 2013. The primary outcome was the need for reintervention (either endoscopic balloon dilation or surgery) for symptomatic Crohn’s disease during follow-up.


The proportion of patients who required any reintervention during follow-up was significantly lower in the surgical group versus the endoscopic balloon dilation group (OR = 5.62 (95% CI, 1.66–19.01); p = 0.005). The need for surgery/resurgery during follow-up was also significantly lower in the surgically treated group (OR = 3.53 (95% CI, 1.01–12.29); p = 0.047). Reintervention-free survival and surgery-free survival were both significantly shorter in the endoscopically treated group in a Kaplan-Mayer analysis. The rate of major complications was similar in the endoscopically and surgically treated groups (7.6% versus 7.5%; p = 0.7).


The small cohort and the retrospective data collection were limitations of this study.


In our cohort of patients with fibrostenotic Crohn’s disease, a direct comparison showed reduced need for reinterventions with a similar rate of immediate major complications after surgery compared with endoscopic balloon dilation.

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