End Colostomy Reversal

An end colostomy reversal is surgery that reverses an end colostomy. The large intestine is disconnected from the opening in the abdomen (stoma). It is then reconnected to the large intestine inside the body. A stoma and pouch are no longer needed. Bowel movements can resume through the rectum.

LET YOUR CAREGIVER KNOW ABOUT:

  • Allergies to food or medicine.

  • Medicines taken, including vitamins, health supplements, herbs, eyedrops, over-the-counter medicines, and creams.

  • Use of steroids (by mouth or creams).

  • Previous problems with anesthetics or numbing medicines.

  • History of bleeding problems or blood clots.

  • Previous surgery.

  • Other health problems, including diabetes and kidney problems.

  • Possibility of pregnancy, if this applies.

RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS

General surgical complications may include:

  • Reaction to anesthesia.

  • Damage to surrounding nerves, tissues, or structures.

  • Blood clot.

  • Bleeding.

  • Scarring.

Specific risks for colostomy reversal, while rare, may include:

  • Intestinal paralysis (ileus). This is a normal part of recovery. It usually goes away in 3 to 7 days. However, it can last longer in some people.

  • Leaking at the joined part of the intestine (anastamotic leak).

  • Infection of the surgical cut (incision) or the place where the stoma was located.

  • A collection of pus (abscess) in the abdomen or pelvis.

  • Intestinal blockage.

  • Narrowing at the joined part of the intestine (stricture).

  • Urinary and sexual dysfunction.

BEFORE THE PROCEDURE

It is important to follow your surgeon's instructions prior to your procedure. This will help you to avoid complications. Steps before your procedure may include:

  • A physical exam, rectal exam, X-rays, colonoscopy, and other procedures.

  • Chemotherapy or radiation therapy if the stoma was created for cancer.

  • A review of the procedure, the anesthesia being used, and what to expect after the procedure.

You may be asked to:

  • Stop taking certain medicines for several days prior to your procedure. This may include blood thinners (such as aspirin).

  • Take certain medicines, such as antibiotics or stool softeners.

  • Avoid eating and drinking after midnight the night before the procedure. This will help you to avoid complications from the anesthesia.

  • Quit smoking. Smoking increases the chances of a healing problem after your procedure.

PROCEDURE

You will be given medicine that makes you sleep (general anesthetic). The procedure may be done as open surgery, with a large incision. It may also be done as laparoscopic surgery, with several smaller incisions. The surgeon will stitch or staple the intestine ends back together. This surgery takes several hours.

AFTER THE PROCEDURE

  • You will be given pain medicine.

  • Your caregivers will slowly increase your diet and movement.

  • You can expect to be in the hospital for about 5 to 10 days.

  • You should arrange for someone to help you with activities at home while you recover.