Introduction: There are no specific standards for the timing of surgery to treat ulcerative colitis, so reaching a decision on timing is often difficult. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the timing of surgery from the patients' perspective. Methods: From among 203 patients who underwent restorative proctocolectomy with ileal pouch anal anastomosis to treat ulcerative colitis at our hospital from 1985 to 2013, we mailed a questionnaire to 101 of those who are currently attending periodic follow-up at our hospital. Results: We analyzed 72 valid responses (71.2%). Overall, 65 patients (90.3%) responded that they were happy that they underwent surgery, 38 patients (52.8%) responded that the timing of surgery was appropriate, and 32 patients (44.4%) responded that they would have preferred to have had surgery earlier. The group of patients who would have preferred to have had surgery earlier included 23 patients (71.9%) who had undergone emergency surgery; the incidence of emergency surgery was significantly higher than in the group of 13 patients (34.2%) who had responded that the timing of surgery was appropriate (p = 0.002). Scores on the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF36), which reflect postoperative quality of life, were maintained at the same level as the Japanese standard values in our Japanese patients. Conclusion: The degree of satisfaction of patients who underwent surgery for ulcerative colitis was favorable, although it is important to consider surgery at an earlier stage in patients who may need emergency surgery.
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