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An Overview of the Ileostomy Reversal Procedure

written by: Ms Lisa • edited by: BStone • updated: 2/20/2011

A ileostomy reversal procedure can be performed to reverse an ileostomy. This is good news to many people who have previously had to have this surgical procedure done. Let us look at what a ileostomy is, and how one is reversed.

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    What Is An Ileostomy?

    An iliostomy is similar to a colostomy; however, they are two different type surgeries. The difference between the two is that the colostomy diverts the colon to the stoma and an ileostomy diverts the ileum to the stoma. This type of surgery is classified as a bowel diversion surgery.

    An ileostomy bypasses the anus, rectum and colon and does not have as many complications as a colostomy has.

    This type of surgery is performed because of conditions such as an inflammatory bowel disease causing a bowel obstruction, diverticulitis, cancer, or trauma. It is important to mention that these surgeries affect the small and large intestine.

    The small intestine is located between the large intestines and the stomach. When an iliostomy is performed, it affects the ileum. That is why the surgery is called an iliostomy instead of a colostomy.

    In the standard ileostomy, the physician cuts a few inches of small intestine and pulls it through a small incision that is cut in the abdomen. He then cuts another hole into the large intestine. One stoma is connected to the intestine; the other protrudes from the abdomen connecting it to a catheter type bag that collects the bowel waste.

    Now that we have a better understanding of what an iliostomy is, we have a better understand the difference between these two types of surgeries.

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    What is the Procedure to Reverse an Ileostomy?

    The procedure used to reverse an iliostomy is known as a loop ileostomy takedown. In this procedure, the surgeon sews up the loop that was previously made to bypass the stoma and intestine and sew them back together. This allows the person to have normal bowel movements through the intestines leading to the colon and rectum again.

    There are risks of infection; however, although the physician can treat the infections. They are not that uncommon with this type of surgery because of the bacteria that is associated with fecal matter.

    In some cases, this procedure cannot be used to reverse an ileostomy simply because too much damage was done in the first place. The physician can determine if this is the case before the reverse procedure is done. Each person’s case is unique and can only be determined by the trained professionals.

    Most of the people that have an ileostomy are pleased when they find out that there is a reverse procedure that can allow them to defecate normally again. They no longer have to rely on the bag that was attached to the stoma, and can return to a normal life and activities.

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    On A Special Note

    For the people that find that the ileostomy cannot be performed, there is hope. There is support available through the American Cancer Society, United Ostomy Associations Of America, Inc, International Ostomy Association and the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society.

    Resources:

    American Journal Of Surgery

    National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse

    American Cancer Society

    Direct.gov.uk Journal Of The Royal Society Of Medicine

    American Medical Association