surgery complications

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 5975
   Posted 3/27/2010 2:04 PM (GMT -6)   
     I've been suffering with ulcerative proctitis for over eleven years.  Remicade failed and I started Humira last Wednesday.  Trying to avoid surgery but I have to face reality and take note that it may be in my near future.
     What I would like to know if there are any statitics out there on the amount of complications that come along with this type of surgery.  It sounds scary.  I am reading from quite a few posts that there are a LOT of possible complications.  Is this moreso than the general run of the mill surgeries?
     I may add that I am 63 yrs old.  My general health is good.  Other than the UP I do have high blood pressure but controlled with meds.  Prednisone has given me osteoporosis.  I also have situs inversus (all my organs are reversed).
Diagnosed with ulcerative proctitis in 1998 in hospital
Hospitalized (2nd time) in May 2008 for ten days.
Remission Nov 08 thru May of 09.
Flare May of 09 thru Aug of 09.  Very short remission.  Flared again Nov 1st.  Started Remicade Nov 18th.  Felt great after first two infusions.  Suffered a set back after 3rd infusion on Dec 31st. 
But suffered thru a 4th infusion...nada.  Starting Humira Mar 24th.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 91
   Posted 3/27/2010 3:03 PM (GMT -6)   
UC surgery is like any other. It's not perfect and the best source of what you are trying to find out is your surgeon. They've seen it all.

Fourtunatley I've had no complications other than the life changing things you go though after the surgery. I don't know how you dealt with it for 11 years. I couldn't deal with it for 8 months of needles, ER visits for dehydration; prednazone.. and I still could hardly function and go to work. The vomiting and runs were horrible and the surgery ended it all..

The first few months.. they were a ***** after the surgery. learning to deal with a bag. getting my strength back. all of it wasn't easy. but each day was a bit better. each week was better than the last. doing things again which were unremarkable before.. People who see me now each day have no idea I was sick.. and a lot of the health issues I was dealing with before the surgery. diabetes.. blood pressure.. well no longer. UC I believe was causing problems for me before I was getting Ill And honestly. I can deal with the bag a lot better than being within 10 feet of a toilet for those unexpected explosive moments that ruin your life.

Find out all you can from your doctor. Ask questions.. is the best answer I can give you ..

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 5975
   Posted 3/27/2010 7:04 PM (GMT -6)   
      Wade, thank you for your reply.  The UC you suffered with sounds far worse than mine.  I have had a few years here and there that I was in total remission.   I have ulcerative proctitis.  My ulcerations are only in the rectum but they are stubborn.  My doctor classified it as mild/moderate....hate to see what severe is.  He said that the rectum seems to be the hardest to treat.  I have never had any upper gastric distress, no vomiting.  My mornings are the worse.   Depending on what I consume the day before, my bowel movements vary from 3 - 6 per morning with urgency and still bleeding.
     After being discharged from the hospital in 08, I consulted with a colorectal surgeon who is noted for being one of the best in this tri-state area ( NJ, PA and Del).  At the time, he was not in favor of my having the surgery.  I was flaring from March of 08 thru Oct of 08, had a seven month remission, then started a flare in May of 09.  Been on and off prednisone for a total of six months since then...not good.  Hoping Humira will get me into remission.
Diagnosed with ulcerative proctitis in 1998 in hospital
Hospitalized (2nd time) in May 2008 for ten days.
Remission Nov 08 thru May of 09.
Flare May of 09 thru Aug of 09.  Very short remission.  Flared again Nov 1st.  Started Remicade Nov 18th.  Felt great after first two infusions.  Suffered a set back after 3rd infusion on Dec 31st. 
But suffered thru a 4th infusion...nada.  Starting Humira Mar 24th.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 6571
   Posted 3/27/2010 9:52 PM (GMT -6)   
there are always risks of complications, and the doctors are gonna tell you each and every possible thing that could go wrong, in order to cover their butts. Most of the stuff is very unlikely, most of the stuff that actually goes wrong from ostomy surgery is a lapsrcopic ending up being a full opening, or the instetines not waking up quickly and having to stay in the hostpial for extra time, then after that you could get skin issues. But most those things arent the norm!
Alot of the people who are posting here are posting because they have problems, there are thousands more who arent here posting cause they are doing other things. Im here posting to answer questions and help calm people down, and cause i have no life, lol.
But what you have to look at is, is the small risk of a complication worth getting your life back?

When i made the decision, i said, ok I KNOW i hate my life right now, MAYBE i will hate life after surgery, but i had read so many people who where happy. And i KNOW i was having side effects from the dangerous meds, and MAYBE i would have complications, so it just made since to me to take the chance.
UC for 8 years, before finally kicking its butt and having a permanent ileostomy April 17 2007! 
-I have gone to find myself, if i get back before i return, keep me here-

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 106
   Posted 3/28/2010 11:21 AM (GMT -6)   


I am recovering from surgery done Feb 23. I did have the full open surgery and then trouble with the intestines waking up.19 days in the hospital..... I have been home 2 weeks and the healing process is going will. I would echo  the fact of others,that I did not want a life time of pred/remicade/or some other new medicine. It is a big decision and each person must weigh the benifits and risk. For me it was a no brainer. I was not able to deal with the UC symptoms. I am getting stronger each day and even with the complication I don't regret the surgery a bit

50 yr old man, Colon Cancer survivor 2005
90 % of colon removed 2005 The rest 2-23-10
Illistomy scheduled for Feb-23-10 Done!
Healing up March 2010

Equestrian Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3115
   Posted 3/28/2010 6:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Having had Crohn's in my rectum...any complication is easier than THAT pain and the fistulas, YUK!!!!

I did have abscesses post op (I had a full proctocolectomy w/end ileo) both in my bottom and my abdomen. They were drained and I had a wound vac (for a while) and did wet to dry packing for the bottom until it healed. Not ideal, but my active disease was worse, and I did feel better every day:)
Crohn’s dx 1989
some terrible years before my
Proctocolectomy in 2008

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 827
   Posted 3/29/2010 1:07 PM (GMT -6)   
This is major surgery and if you are sick going into it, it can be that much more problematic. With any major surgery there are always complication risks.

Your surgeon can give you numbers and just remember that anything that does not go EXACTLY as planned is considered a complication. Most are fairly minor, easily fixed and may just mean a longer hospital stay.

A lot a people sail through these surgeries but almost everyone I know has had some sort of a complication. It is fairly common to have an ileus after abdominal surgery. Sometimes after the intestine has been manipulated it just shuts down and takes its merry time starting up again. The cure is complete bowel rest until it wakes up...this can take a few days. It is possible that you might need an NG tube during this time. It sounds awful, but my son has had this done four times and it is not as bad as some will tell you.

AFter surgery you have to be careful of obstructions...especially for the first six weeks. Again, these normally resolve on their own and just need time. Some people are able to ride them out at home but my son, again who had more than his fair share of these, was hospitalized for each obstruction. This is actually where he wanted to be since you can get IV pain meds and be hydrated.

If you are told that your surgeon will try laproscopic surgery and then ends up giving you a large incision this is also considered a complication.

I don't mean to scare you with this. My son has had all these "problems" (some a few times) and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. The end result is so worth the sometimes bumpy road. He is a month post his reversal surgery and is doing great. Prior to having his colon removed he was so sick. He now has more energy than he can remember and is healthy in every way. He is living life as a teenager should.

All the best,

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 3/29/2010 6:42 PM (GMT -6)   
I underwent an ostomy on the 27th of June 2009. Had my side bag for seven month. On the 5th of February 2010 the take down performed. Here I a at almost seven weeks of the takedown and I am still hurting more around where the stoma was. I too have problem going to bed, it hurts. I get that neadle sting feeling around the stoma area. I do not want to think its a hernia. I've spoken to my surgeon and he/she say its normal. That that feeling will last fro six to twelve month. Oh, forgot to mention, I started to work on the 22nd of March 2010. Being that I am a IT Specialist the job is not heavy work. I try not to stay on my desk for too long, so I do some walking around the work place. Is it normal to still hurt? And is it normal for the healing process to take that long?

Best of Health to All

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 768
   Posted 3/29/2010 9:59 PM (GMT -6)   
I understand your fears after reading the scary stories, but they are not the norm. I decided to make getting well a serious,careful undertaking. I read and pondered what everyone on here wrote, and tried different things to see what worked for me.

I walked from the moment I could. I was very careful about eating solids and had blended foods for the first 8 weeks. There were foods I avoided so I never had bad gas and learned to drink 3-4 liters of water a day. I soaked my bottom in sitz baths everyday for 8 weeks and slept and read as much as I could stand. I rubbed cream on scars and they aren't too bad looking. Trying to keep clean and healthy diet going. I didn't over commit to doing things that weren't necessary or good for my recovery.

Recovery has been steady and I ran a 10 kilometer race March 13th and was pleasantly surprised at a 59 minute time. I still can't get these appliances to stay on enough but but i'm not on pred. or other hard drugs. Oh, I'm 54 and loving life more this year than the last 10 for sure.

It was hard for me to give into the surgery idea until cancer kind of forced the issue. But now I wish I'd done it on my own earlier. Hind sight is so clear.

Hope you can get the help you need and be happy!!
Those things we keep trying to do get easier not because the feat gets easier but our ability to "do" gets better.
Thyroid cancer removed 1988
Stomach problems finally figured out 2001 Crohn's/Colitus
Tried every drug without much success
Colon/rectal cancer removed Aug 2009
6 Grown kids, grandkids and a great husband to keep me busy

Post Edited (Trigirl) : 3/29/2010 9:04:20 PM (GMT-6)

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