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To the Editor:—
The article by Bacon, Bralow, and Berkley entitled "Rehabilitation and Long-Term Survival after Colectomy for Ulcerative Colitis" in The Journal, Jan. 23, page 324, requires comment. The senior author, who has repeatedly advocated colectomy as a cure for chronic ulcerative colitis, is not the only surgeon misusing the term "cure." However, semantics is not the major issue here. The authors report on 468 patients with ulcerative colitis, 124, or 26%, of whom had colectomies and permanent ileostomies performed. The substitution of one miserable condition for another just as miserable is incomprehensible.The medical management of chronic ulcerative colitis has improved immensely during the past decade so that only rarely need a patient be subjected to colectomy with permanent ileostomy. At the Mayo Clinic, where many patients with ulcerative colitis are seen annually, only 5.5% have operations (Rogers, Bargen, and Black: Gastroenterology 27:383 [Oct.] 1954). Kirsner and Palmer
Fradkin WZ. ULCERATIVE COLITIS. JAMA. 1960;174(4):436. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03030040090026