Aims: Describe the characteristics of extraintestinal manifestations complicating ulcerative colitis present preoperatively and determine their evolution after surgery. Methods: Between 1976 and 1986, 281 patients with ulcerative colitis exhibiting one or more extraintestinal manifestations (EIM) before either IPAA (n = 147), Brooke ileostomy (n = 71), Kock pouch (n = 48) or ileorectostomy (n = 15) were assessed retrospectively. The clinical evolution of each manifestation was classified as having disappeared, improved, remained unchanged or aggravated postoperatively. An efficacy index was designed to assess the ratio of the number of cases cured or improved over the number of cases unchanged or aggravated. The relationship between EIM and gender, age, duration of disease and the type of surgery was also ascertained. Results: 433 EIM were observed in 281 patients. The most common were arthralgias of the large joints (n = 146), of the sacroiliac joint (n = 59) and the small joints (n = 51). In comparison to patients without EIM having received the same operation during the same period of time, EIM were seen more often in women, younger patients, than those with longer duration of disease and the ileoanal anastomosis group. 60% had only one EIM at a time. Based on the efficacy index, thromboembolic accidents and erythema nodosum were the most commonly cured or improved. Ocular manifestations and primary sclerosing cholangitis were unaffected. The other EIM responded favorably but variably with improvement in two thirds of patients. The presence of a rectal remnant (IRA) or ileal reservoir did not affect the evolution of the EIM. Conclusions: Thromboembolic complications which are life-threatening, erythema nodosum and arthralgia of the small and large joints which impair quality of life, benefited the most from proctocolectomy. Those conditions may be considered preoperatively when making the decision for surgery.

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