Risk factors for postoperative recurrence of Crohn's disease with emphasis on surgical predictors

Authors Antonios Gklavas, Dionysios Dellaportas, Ioannis Papaconstantinou.


Intestinal resection for Crohn's disease is not curative and postoperative recurrence rates remain high. Early detection of indices associated with recurrence and risk stratification are fundamental for the postoperative management of patients. Early endoscopy at 6-12 months is the "gold standard" procedure, whereas other modalities such as fecal calprotectin and imaging techniques can contribute to the diagnosis of recurrence. The purpose of this review is to summarize current data regarding risk factors correlated with postoperative relapse. Smoking is a well-established, modifiable risk factor. There are sufficient data that correlate penetrating disease, perianal involvement, extensive resections, prior surgery, histological features (plexitis and granulomas), and improper management after resection with high rates for recurrence. The literature provides conflicting data for other possible predictors, such as age, sex, family history of inflammatory bowel disease, location of disease, strictureplasties, blood transfusions, and postoperative complications, necessitating further evidence. On the other hand, surgical factors such as anastomotic configuration, open or laparoscopic approach, and microscopic disease at specimen margins when macroscopic disease is resected, seem not to be related with an increased risk of recurrence. Further recognition of histological features as well as gene-related factors are promising fields for research.

Keywords Crohn's disease, recurrence risk factors, postoperative recurrence

Ann Gastroenterol 2017; 30 (6): 598-612

Review Articles