• Overview

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An ileostomy is a surgical procedure to connect your small intestine to an opening in your abdomen called a stoma.

It is usually performed on patients who have diseases of the colon (large intestine) such as Crohn’s diseaseulcerative colitis or bowel cancer. Following your surgery faeces will leave your body through the stoma which is connected to a special collection pouch. 

Before your surgery you will meet with one of our specialist nurses to discuss how the stoma works and show you where it will be on your body. They will also show you a variety of stoma bags and explain how they work. You will not need to wear any special clothing to hide the stoma bag. There are even smaller bags that can be worn very discretely under swimwear. There is no need to change your lifestyle if you have a stoma. Be sure and discuss any concerns you have with our stoma specialist. We understand this is something new and different - and we are here to help.

Sometimes a pouch can be made internally connecting your small intestine to your anus (back passage). This pouch will now allow you to store stool and pass it as normal through your anus.

What happens during an ileostomy?

An ileostomy is performed under general anaesthetic. The length of your procedure and type of ileostomy will depend on your own medical condition. Be sure and discuss what method will be used with your surgeon.

Once your operation is over you will be taken the recovery room to wake from the anaesthetic. You may have a tube in your wound to drain away any excess fluid.  Your stoma may feel swollen and sore. This will ease in time. You will have a stoma bag attached to your stoma.

After an ileostomy

You will be given medication to control any post-operative pain. Be sure and tell one of our healthcare team if you are uncomfortable. Recovery from this surgery can require 7-10 days stay in hospital depending on what method of surgery was used.

Once you begin to pass wind and stool, you can begin to take fluids by mouth. Your diet will be gradually increased over the next few days. A specialist nurse will teach you all about managing your temporary stoma.

Going home after an ileostomy

Follow dietary or activity advice. It is important to attend any follow-up hospital visits.  Your abdomen may be sore but should settle in time.

It can take up to 8 weeks before you can resume normal activities. Avoid strenuous activities for about 3 months.

Discuss any return to work with your consultant.

As with any surgical procedure there could be complications including:

  • Bleeding
  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Bruising
Specific complications may include:
  • Leaking of the pouch
  • Infection in the pouch (Pouchitis)
  • Obstruction or blockage in your intestine
  • Drainage from the anus

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