The inflammation and ulceration in the small and large intestines associated with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD)—Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis—cause debilitating symptoms and impair patients' quality of life. The Jill Roberts Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and the IBD Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center are renowned programs offering comprehensive diagnosis, treatment, and support for people with IBD and their families.
When you come to us for your care, you can be assured you are receiving treatment based on the latest medical advances, personalized for you, from teams of IBD experts who are also conducting research to improve IBD therapies. Our goal is to help you achieve wellness and a high quality of life despite IBD.
Whom We Treat
We care for people with:
- Ulcerative colitis. An inflammation of the innermost lining of the large intestine (colon or bowel) and rectum.
- Crohn's disease. An inflammation that usually involves the lining and walls of the small intestine, most often the lower part called the "ileum." It may also affect the large intestine and other parts of the digestive system and can spread deep into the tissue.
A Team of IBD Specialists for Every Need
The care of people with IBD is complex and requires a team with a deep understanding of IBD and its physical and emotional impact. At NewYork-Presbyterian, your IBD care team includes gastroenterologists, surgeons, nurses, registered dietitians, psychologists, and others with the compassion and experience to care for people with IBD. Together your team puts together a plan of care customized to your needs and preferences. Nurse navigators organize and expedite your tests, procedures, and therapies.
Sometimes the inflammation of IBD affects other parts of your body. If this is the case, we can refer you to other NewYork-Presbyterian specialists such as ophthalmologists, rheumatologists, dermatologists and infectious disease specialists.
Comprehensive Diagnostic Testing
The symptoms of IBD may also be caused by other digestive illnesses. As a result, we will conduct several tests to determine if you have IBD. These may include:
- Blood tests
- Stool analyses
- Comprehensive imaging of your digestive tract
- Upper endoscopy to examine the inside of your esophagus, stomach, or duodenum (upper part of the small intestine).
- Sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy to view either the lower part of your large intestine (sigmoid colon) or your entire large intestine to look for inflammation or bleeding, using a flexible scope. If necessary, your doctor may take a small tissue sample (biopsy) from the lining of your intestine for examination.
- Video capsule endoscopy or balloon-assisted enteroscopy to assess disease activity of traditionally hard to reach areas of the small intestine.
All of these tests are available at each of our NewYork-Presbyterian campuses.
People with IBD may find that certain foods make their symptoms worse. When you have IBD, you also need to make sure you get enough nutritious food to support your health. Working with your gastroenterologist, a registered dietitian can help you identify foods you should avoid and make sure that you are eating and absorbing enough food to meet your nutritional needs.
Guidance about Lifestyle Changes
You may find that relieving stress helps ease your symptoms. People with IBD who smoke may have fewer IBD symptoms if they quit. We have programs to help you manage stress and, if you smoke, to quit. NewYork-Presbyterian offers stress management and lifestyle optimization services through our Integrative Health and Well-being program. Our therapies can help to promote relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, and relieve your symptoms.
We understand how IBD symptoms can affect your life, including relationships with your family members and others, your ability to travel and pursue leisure activities, and perhaps even your choice of career. Our psychologists provide emotional care, one-on-one and through support groups. We also offer educational programs to help you live the best life you can with IBD.
Medications for IBD
A variety of medicines are available to treat people with IBD, depending on your disease type and symptoms. You may receive anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, antibiotics, probiotics, drugs that suppress the immune response, or biologic drugs (which inhibit the proteins causing IBD symptoms).
If your medication is given intravenously (as biologic drugs typically are), you can receive them in our comfortable and modern infusion centers, under the care of our compassionate and experienced nurses. Infusion therapies for IBD also include ion infusions for IBD-associated anemia, stem cell infusion therapy, medications for controlling chronic pain, intravenous hydration, and nutrition therapy.
Minimally Invasive IBD Surgery
If dietary and lifestyle changes and medications are not enough to control your IBD symptoms, surgery may be necessary. Whenever possible, we use minimally invasive laparoscopy, which is associated with smaller incisions, less discomfort after surgery, and a speedier recovery than open abdominal surgery. Our colorectal surgeons have pioneered IBD surgical approaches used today and offer resection (removal of diseased intestinal tissue), strictureplasty to open intestines narrowed by scar tissue, and removal of the colon and rectum if needed.
Reconstructive intestinal surgery is available to maintain bowel function whenever possible. If an ostomy is required, our ostomy nurses support patients and their families adjusting to life with this bag worn outside the abdomen to collect waste.
Follow-Up Care for a Lifetime
People with IBD are at risk for colorectal cancer and osteoporosis and may have other digestive disorders, as a result of inflammatory malabsorption. Your team will provide you with the monitoring you need to find cancer early, if it does arise, and to manage any complications. Because IBD tends to run in families, genetic counseling is available for your family members who may be concerned about their risk.
Clinical Trials for IBD
NewYork-Presbyterian investigators are conducting clinical trials to assess innovative therapies for IBD. You may have the opportunity to participate in a clinical study evaluating a promising new treatment. If you are interested in learning more about current trials at NewYork-Presbyterian and other facilities across the nation, visit our Clinical Trials section.