A stoma is an opening that is created by pulling the intestine to the abdominal wall. In the case of the colostomy colon is involved and in the case of ileostomy small intestine is used. Then the patient needs to wear a pouch or a bag over the stoma all the time to store the feces or the urine. The stoma can be permanent or temporary. It can be reversed after many weeks or months of the surgery, once it has been recovered completely.
In the stoma reversal surgery, a piece of the bowel i.e. stoma is rejoined with the colon or the small intestine and in the end closing the stoma. The method for reversal of colostomy and ileostomy is the same.
It is only recommended in the situation when the doctor is sure that the patient can be able to control the bowel movements after the surgery. The doctor may recommend some tests to ensure the healthy condition of your anal sphincter muscles and the bowel after the surgery. These tests may involve:
- Examining the rectum to determine the proper functioning of the sphincter muscles and the control of the bowel.
- A flexible sigmoidoscopy to determine the extent of healing of the bowel
- An enema is recommended to ensure there is no leakage
- A CT scan to make sure there is no other pathology that may cause further complications
Which individuals may undergo stoma reversal?
The individuals who have an adequate rectum, healthy sphincter muscles, no other active pathology or disease are eligible for this surgery. The main thing is the good and healthy condition of the patient.
The surgeon will decide the timings for the reversal surgery very carefully. You can’t go for reversal surgery if you are having chemotherapy. The ideal time for reversal surgery is after three to twelve months of the surgery. This helps to ensure that your muscles are strong and you have completely recovered from your last surgery.
What happens during the procedure?
This procedure is most of the time less technical than stoma formation surgery or Ostomy. The complications such as hernia may also decide the demand of the stoma reversal.
How much time does it take for a stoma reversal surgery?
This surgery may be performed openly or through laparoscopy. You can discuss with your surgeon about the best option for yourself. Under general anesthesia, it will take almost one to two hours for a stoma reversal surgery.
What to expect after the procedure?
How much time does it take to recover from stoma reversal surgery?
You will be not allowed to take any solid foods for at least 24 hours of the surgery. You can drink plain liquids. Your doctor will advise you to walk around to ensure the normal functioning of the bowel. You need to stay in hospital for almost 3 to 5 days. You can leave the hospital after the normal bowel movements and if you have no complications.
You may feel tired when you come back home, this is due to weakness. You should walk regularly to get back your energy and to stand on your feet. You must not lift heavy weights after the surgery for almost six to eight weeks. You can turn back to driving once your doctor allows you and you are sure that you can apply the emergency brakes.
How much time is needed for a proper bowel movement after the reversal surgery?
You may feel difficult or you may experience irregular bowel movements after the surgery. You may complain about
- Loose motion
- Urge to use the washroom
- Pain while passing feces
- Soreness in the anus
- Improper emptying
How to regain bowel control after the reversal surgery?
Some tips can help you to reduce and control the symptoms of the surgery. These are:
You should eat frequent but small portions of the meal, chew your food properly. Use low fiber foods which can be digested easily. Drink a lot of water to prevent constipation. If you are having loose feces you should consume boiled potatoes, bananas, sweets to firm up the feces. You should avoid fizzy drinks, coffee, alcohol, and caffeine because these items may cause diarrhea, which slows down your recovery. You should also avoid spicy and oily foods. In case of aching or cramps, you should drink tea or fennel water.
- Skin Protection
You can use chemical-free and fragrance-free wipes to clean the skin near the stoma. You can avoid chapped or broken skin by using Vaseline, Cavilon, or castor oil.
Some common risks and side effects of the procedure
There are risks in almost all types of surgeries. Your surgeon will discuss the risks and complications before the surgery.
Some common risks are:
- A condition when the bowel ceases to work properly called ileus
- Anastomotic leaks
- Bowel blockage
- Chest infection
- Clots in blood