What causes bowel obstruction in Crohn disease?

Updated: Jul 26, 2019
  • Author: Leyla J Ghazi, MD; Chief Editor: Praveen K Roy, MD, AGAF  more...
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Answer

Transmural inflammation results in thickening of the bowel wall and narrowing of the lumen. As Crohn disease progresses, it is complicated by obstruction or deep ulceration leading to fistulization by way of the sinus tracts penetrating the serosa, microperforation, abscess formation, adhesions, and malabsorption. [1]

Bowel obstruction is caused initially by significant edema of the mucosa and associated spasm of the bowel. Obstruction is intermittent and can often be reversed by means of conservative measures and anti-inflammatory agents. With further disease progression, the obstruction becomes chronic because of fibrotic scarring, luminal narrowing, and stricture formation. [1]


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