Emergent and Urgent Surgery for Ulcerative Colitis in the United States in the Minimally Invasive and Biologic Era

Mohamed A. Abd El Aziz, David Larson, Fabian Grass, Anne Lise D. D'Angelo, Scott R. Kelley, Laura E. Raffals, Kellie L. Mathis, Sherief Shawki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Although the overall adoption of minimally invasive surgery in the nonemergent management of ulcerative colitis is established, little is known about its utilization in emergency settings. OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to assess rates of urgent and emergent surgery over time in the era of emerging biologic therapies and to highlight the current practice in the United States regarding the utilization of minimally invasive surgery for urgent and emergent indications for ulcerative colitis. DESIGN: This was a retrospective analysis study. SETTINGS: Data were collected from the American College of Surgeons National Quality Improvement Program database. PATIENTS: All adult patients who underwent emergent or urgent colectomy for ulcerative colitis were included. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Rates of emergency operations over time and utilization trends of minimally invasive surgery in urgent and emergent settings were assessed. Unadjusted and adjusted overall, surgical, and medical 30-day complication rates were compared between open and minimally invasive surgery. RESULTS: A total of 2219 patients were identified. Of those, 1515 patients (68.3%) underwent surgery in an urgent setting and 704 (31.7%) as an emergency. Emergent cases decreased over time (21% in 2006 to 8% in 2018; p < 0.0001). However, the rate of urgent surgeries has not significantly changed (42% in 2011 to 46% in 2018; p = 0.44). Minimally invasive surgery was offered to 70% of patients in the urgent group (1058/1515) and 22.6% of emergent indications (159/704). Overall, minimally invasive surgery was increasingly utilized over the study period in urgent (38% in 2011 to 71% in 2018; p < 0.0001) and emergent (0% in 2005 to 42% in 2018; p < 0.0001) groups. Compared to minimally invasive surgery, open surgery was associated with a higher risk of surgical, septic, and overall complications, and prolonged hospitalization. LIMITATIONS: This study was limited by its retrospective nature of the analysis. CONCLUSION: Based on a nationwide analysis from the United States, minimally invasive surgery has been increasingly and safely implemented for emergent and urgent indications for ulcerative colitis. Although the sum of emergent and urgent cases remained the same over the study period, emergency cases decreased significantly over the study period, which may be related to improved medical treatment options and a collaborative, specialized team approach. See Video Abstract at http://links.lww.com/DCR/B847.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1025-1033
Number of pages9
JournalDiseases of the colon and rectum
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022


  • Emergency
  • Fulminant colitis
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Ulcerative colitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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