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Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 89
   Posted 7/13/2008 1:20 PM (GMT -6)   
The end of March I had 5 in. of my terminal ileum resected laproscopically.  Five days later it pulled loose and I had to have an open inscision resection of a further 18 in. including cleaning up the  mess by my another surgeon on a Sunday as well as a temporary ostomy.  Because my colon was short, he installed a rubber tube to hold it in place. This tube comes out of my abdomen on the opposite side and just hangs.  It drained a little initally but stopped.  For a two-week period  a month after the surgery it produced stinky black exudate where the tube emerges which my surgeon said was mucus.  Now it produces what looks like nasal mucus. 
There is red inflamed sensitive tissue growing on one side of the site on top of the skin and every time I bump the tube it hurts--much more so than initially.  I've been putting zinc ointment, Mylanta, (to neutralize stomach acid), and the last time I saw the surgeon, the PA put sliver nitrate on it and it hurt worse for several days with no visible effect.  At this time she mentioned removal of the tube pending a fistulagram (injecting dye into the tube) that shows no leaks.
It was my understanding that the tube would remain in place until the ostomy reversal--and this is what one of my visiting nurses said.  The surgeon's office was to call me about setting up the appt. for the 'gram the next day but never did.  When I called the PA several days later, she said the nurse was supposed to do that and she would talk to her and get back to me.  A week later on Fri. I still hadn't heard and called again only to be told she was gone for the day.
I'm now starting to wonder if there is conflict between the two surgeons on removal or not and what's best.
Has anyone had a similar situation of a tube to hold the colon in place until the reversal?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2765
   Posted 7/14/2008 5:47 AM (GMT -6)   
I've never heard of having a tube to hold the colon in place, but when I saw that you are going to have a fistulagram, I might be able to give some insight into what a fistula is and why you have the tube.

When I still had my colon, I had Crohn's and a fistula (a tunnel) that went from my colon to my right butt cheek. It caused an abscess, and a surgeon had to surgically cut it open. She put a tube in the site to allow it to drain. That tube was so painful, because the skin around it was extremely tender. sad

I continued to work as a receptionist (mainly for the health benefits), which meant I had to sit at a desk all day. I sat on a donut and had to take a pain pill, just to get through the day. It was awful. The tube wasn't removed until I had my colon and rectum removed.

I remember doing warm sitz baths to soothe the tender skin around the tube and applying an antibiotic ointment that the doctor prescribed. Maybe your doctor can prescribe some of that ointment for you.

The tube is to prevent you from having all of that stuff be inside of you, so there is a benefit to it. I hope you pass the fistulagram and can have it removed soon.

Take care,
Dx'd Crohn's in '99 at 28. Proctocolectomy and ileostomy in '06.
Disease-free, medicine-free, and very thankful to be healthy again :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 1956
   Posted 7/14/2008 7:46 AM (GMT -6)   
I had a colon resection (for rectal cancer) and a temporary colostomy 9 years ago. With vertical abdominal incision. I had two drainage tubes that came out of my hips (about half way over from the navel to my side, slightly below where your navel sits). At the end of each tube was what the nurses called - grenades - they were small plastic Tupperware type containers with either attached flip tops or tops you unscrewed (I forget exactly what they looked like). There were fabric type tabs on the containers that I pinned to my underwear. The tubing was about 1 foot long. I had to drain the containers several times a day and record how much drainage I had each time. For one of my post op appts., I had the tubes removed. They were held in place by a few stitches at my skin level. My surgeon snipped the stitches and pulled the tubes out. If I remember correctly these tubes were removed about 2 weeks after my first surery (second was the takedown, my colostomy reversal 8 weeks after my first surgery).

When I asked about the tubing I was told it was to drain post-op fluids.

So perhaps what I had were very different than the tubing you've described. But the nurses didn't bat any eye when draining my tubing in the hospital, they treated the "grenades" as if they were standard operating procedure (no pun intended!).


Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 89
   Posted 7/14/2008 9:01 PM (GMT -6)   

Thanks for your replies.

I had two of those tubes with "grenades" for infection pockets.  These were small diameter and they were removed as the infections cleared.

This tube is about 1/4" diameter and the end is plugged.  My visiting nurse thinks it should stay until the reversal and it's to help locate my colon because it's pretty messy in there with numberous adhesions from past surgeries. 

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