February 25, 2015/Digestive/Resource

Help for Patients Requiring Reoperative, Complex Colorectal Surgeries

Experienced team approach leads to better outcomes


Reoperative surgeries — including revisions, and those necessary due to disease recurrence — are one of the most common reasons for referrals to Cleveland Clinic’s colorectal surgery program.


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Returning patients to their lives

“We see one of the highest volumes of complex reoperative cases in the country,” says colorectal surgeon Jean Ashburn, MD. “Caring for so many of these patients over many years has helped us learn what methods work best to get our patients back to the life that they desire and deserve to have.”

The department’s areas of reoperative expertise include:

  • Recurrent Crohn disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Recurrent colorectal cancer
  • Enterocutaneous fistulas
  • Septic complications
  • Re-establishing GI continuity to avoid permanent stoma

Because of this diversity, the department relies on a multidisciplinary approach. The surgeons work closely with specialists in gastroenterology, radiology and pathology to ensure better outcomes.

Overcoming unique challenges

Dr. Ashburn understands the unique challenges these patients face. “Many of our patients have been a prisoner of their disease for a very long time, long before we meet them,” she says. “They are frankly just sick and tired of being sick and tired. It is incredibly rewarding to help these patients conquer their disease and reclaim a better quality of life.”

To address these unique challenges, it is important to work with referring physicians. As Dr. Ashburn notes, “We appreciate being entrusted with the care of these patients through referrals from our region as well as nationally and internationally.”

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