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Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Program

little boy holding stomach

The WakeMed Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) program is a highly specialized patient care program exclusively focused on providing comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services for children with IBD. Our team is dedicated to diagnosing and treating inflammatory bowel disease and we provide pediatric patients with comprehensive medical services.

Expert Care for Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease

WakeMed Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease program is made up of a team of experts in clinical care, surgery, radiology and pathology — all working together to help our patients with IBD. Our team approach ensures that every aspect of a patient’s care involves specialists from different disciplines, all experienced in the management of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis to provide them access to our full range of services.

For example, during your child’s visit to the gastroenterologist, a pediatric surgeon may be available to discuss possible surgical options to treat your child’s condition. This allows you to see more than one subspecialist in one visit.

The IBD program's team of experts offers broad-based knowledge in every area of IBD treatment, including innovative immune-suppressing drug therapy such as Infliximab (Remicade) or Adalimumab (Humira). Leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies continually work with the expertise of our program’s clinicians regarding their new products and procedures.

What is IBD

The digestive system (including the food pipe, stomach, small and large intestines) converts food into nutrients and absorbs them into the bloodstream to fuel our bodies. IBD is a lifelong disorder that causes an inflammation of the digestive track. IBD is one of the most common chronic diseases among children and teenagers affecting an estimated four in 1,000 children.

Up to 1.5 million Americans are thought to have IBD, which occurs most often in those ages 15 to 30, but it can affect younger kids and older people. Nearly 20 to 30 percent of patients with IBD are diagnosed before the age of 20 years. IBD is an umbrella term that indicates two major gastrointestinal diseases:

Types of IBD

When IBD is difficult to differentiate and cannot be categorized in CD or UC, it is called indeterminate colitis (IC).

Crohn's disease is a type of IBD that can occur anywhere in the digestive tract, while ulcerative colitis primarily affects the colon (large intestine). Inflammatory bowel disease also can lead to issues outside of the intestine, including anemia, eye inflammation, skin ulcers, liver disease, kidney stones, impaired growth, joint pain and/or osteoporosis.

Because Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are complex and chronic conditions, it's important to work with physicians who understand their intricacies and have access to the latest therapies.

IBD is not the same thing as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

How is IBD Diagnosed?

Our experts are experienced in accurately identifying this frequently misdiagnosed disease. The Pediatric IBD Program performs a complete medical history and physical examination as well as diagnostic procedures for ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, which may include:

  • Blood Tests
  • Stool studies
  • Radiology Studies 
  • Upper gastrointestinal series (UGI)
  • CAT scan (CT)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Endoscopy 
  • Upper Endoscopy: a lighted, flexible tube-like instrument (containing a computer chip and camera that is attached to a TV monitor) examines the upper or lower GI tract for any condition that can cause symptoms
  • Colonoscopy: a long, lighted, flexible tube-like instrument (containing a computer chip and camera that is attached to a TV monitor) examines the inside of the large intestine (see illustration below)
  • Video Capsule Endoscopy: a small capsule with a camera inside can take thousands of pictures and video of your GI tract to identify any disease

Infliximab (Remicade) Infusion Services

For the comfort and convenience of patients and families, our GI division provides outpatient Infliximab (Remicade) infusion services.  Your child does not have to go to the hospital to get this medication as it can be done at the very pleasant and comfortable outpatient setting of our practice.

Infliximab (Remicade) is a medication used to treat IBD. Infliximab (Remicade) helps decrease inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease by blocking an inflammatory chemical in the body. Infliximab (Remicade) is injected into a vein for 2 to 3 hours, a procedure called an infusion. This can be done in an outpatient setting at our Pediatric Gastroenterology practice. 

Infliximab (Remicade) is a very potent drug with the potential for side effects, which may occur during or after the infusion. Allergic reactions to the protein in Infliximab (Remicade) may be seen at any time during treatment. Therefore, it is important that we monitor patients.