State-of-the-art medical prevention of postoperative recurrence of Crohn's disease

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Postoperative recurrence of Crohn's disease is a frequent and often severe sequela of the disease. Until a few years ago it was deemed inescapable, as all the conventional medications used to treat the disease have been proven of little benefit in preventing recurrence after surgical treatment. In the past few years, anti-TNF agents given immediately after surgery have shown a remarkable efficacy in the prevention of disease recurrence. Large, randomized, controlled trials are currently underway to confirm these findings. Anti-TNF treatment of endoscopic lesions that occur after surgery seems to be less effective than using TNF antagonists to prevent recurrence. However, although the data are limited, this treatment strategy seems to be still superior to all the other prevention strategies that are not based on anti-TNF agents. Limited data are available on long-term outcomes of patients treated with anti-TNF agents after surgery. They suggest that these medications are safe and effective after many years of treatment. In addition, these agents might prevent recurrence even at doses lower than those used in patients with Crohn's disease who have not had surgery.

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