A colostomy is a surgical procedure in which an opening called stoma is created in the anterior abdominal wall to bring out the healthy end of the large intestine and suture it into the abdominal opening. This operation is done to provide an alternative channel for feces to leave the body. A colostomy is indicated in many conditions such as colon cancer, diverticulitis or abdominal injury. However, this procedure can be reversed in a procedure known as colostomy reversal surgery.
Colostomy Reversal Surgery Overview
Colostomy reversal surgery is a surgical procedure done to restore the function of the intestine and the rectum. This operation is usually performed as an open surgery but sometimes it may be done as laparoscopic reversal surgery, which is a minimally invasive procedure. The type of colostomy reversal surgery is not determined by the type of the prior colostomy surgery.
The patient is admitted to the hospital a few days before the surgery. To prepare for the procedure, the patient is given a medicine that helps to flush out bowels. Colostomy reversal surgery is done under general anesthesia.
In laparoscopic colostomy reversal surgery, a surgeon makes two incisions below the navel. These incisions enable the surgeon to insert surgical equipment and a laparoscope. Then the abdominal wall of the patient is lifted and detached from the internal organs by filling of the abdominal cavity with carbon dioxide. The rectum and the colon are reconnected with the help of a stapling device. Finally, the incisions are stitched close.
Recovery time for colostomy reversal is between six to ten days. The patient is advised to be physically active to speed up the recovery. Being physically fit before the procedure also makes the recovery quicker.
Side Effects of Colostomy Reversal Surgery
The main side effect of colostomy reversal procedure lies in a length of time required for the bowel to begin functioning again. This may take a few days or much longer because the rectum was not used while there was an anterior stoma in the body.
Since a colostomy causes muscles of the intestine to weaken, the patient may experience interrupted or irregular bowel movements after colostomy reversal surgery. Diarrhea or constipation may develop as a side effect of the procedure.
The patient may experience bleeding during bowel movements or have bloody stools. Mild pain and tenderness in the abdomen may occur too. Less frequent urination and inability to drink or eat are other potential side effect of colostomy reversal.
Finally, as with any operation, the patient may have allergic reaction to anesthesia or the wound may get infected.