End Ileostomy Reversal

An end ileostomy reversal is surgery that reverses a temporary end ileostomy. The small intestine is disconnected from the opening in the abdomen (stoma). It is then reconnected to the remaining intestine inside the body. A stoma and bag are no longer needed. Bowel movements can resume through the rectum. A reversal may be done after another part of your bowel has had time to heal and your caregiver feels that you are healthy enough to have surgery.


  • 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.


  • Reaction to anesthesia.

  • Infection inside the abdominal cavity (abscess).

  • Wound infection where the stoma was.

  • Blood clot.

  • Bleeding.

  • Scarring.

  • Slow recovery of intestinal function (ileus).

  • Intestinal blockage.

  • Intestinal leakage.

  • Narrowing of the joined area.


It is important to follow your caregiver's instructions prior to your procedure. This helps to avoid complications. Steps before your procedure may include:

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

  • A review of the procedure, the anesthetic 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 laxatives or stool softeners.

  • Follow a special diet for several days prior to the procedure.

  • 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.


You will be given medicine that makes you sleep (general anesthetic). The procedure may be done as open surgery, with a large cut (incision). It may also be done as laparoscopic surgery, with several smaller incisions, if possible. During an end ileostomy reversal, the surgeon will make an incision in the abdomen to access the large and small intestines. Scar tissue that may have formed between your intestines since your last surgery will be cut (lysed). The surgeon will then stitch or staple the intestine back together. This surgery requires a fair amount of recovery time in the hospital.


  • 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.