Crohn's disease (CD) leads to the development of complications through progressive uncontrolled inflammation and the transmural involvement of the bowel wall. Most of the available literature on penetrating CD focuses on the perianal phenotype. The management of nonperianal penetrating complications poses its own set of challenges and can result in significant morbidity and an increased risk of mortality. Few controlled trials have been published evaluating this subgroup of patients for clinicians to use for guidance. Utilizing the available evidence, we review the epidemiology, presentation, and modalities used to diagnosis and assess intestinal fistulas, phlegmons, and abscesses. The literature regarding the medical, endoscopic, and surgical management options are reviewed providing physicians with a therapeutic framework to comprehensively treat these nonperianal penetrating complications. Through a multidisciplinary evidence-based approach to the complex sequela of CD outcomes can be improved and patient's quality of life enhanced. 10.1093/ibd/izx108-video1

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)752-765
Number of pages14
JournalInflammatory Bowel Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - 19 Mar 2018


  • Crohn's disease
  • abscess
  • fistula
  • phlegmon


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