Reversal of Ileostomy and Hernia Repair

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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 212
   Posted 1/4/2011 6:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi All!

It's been 3 1/2 years since I received my ileostomy - July 23, 2007. I finally get to have it reversed. I also have a hernia that needs repairs that is at the site. The reason I received my ileostomy is from colorectal surgery that went bad because of a softball size abscess up inside my rectum. The colorectal surgery was for repair work from having a natural child birth back in 1986 when the doctor gave me an episiotomy that gave me a 4th degree laceration. Because of the tear, it left me with a rectal/vaginal fistula that did heal on its own, but left me with just a thin tissue between my rectum and vagina. Over the years, I had several yeast infections and some incontinence. After 4 local surgeries in Columbus and 4 up at Cleveland Clinic, I'm hopefully, ready to have this done. My Cleveland Clinic doctor said we would not know how continent I'll be until the surgery is complete and I give myself time to heal. I've gone to a PT for kegal exercises and biofeedback for several months.

Here are my questions for those who have had similar experiences (i.e., Temporary Loop Ileostomy for several years and developed a hernia that needed repaired):

What kind of bowel prep did you do before the surgery? My doctor wants me to do the bowel prep you'd do for a colonoscopy.
How long did the surgery actually take? My doctor set aside 4 hours.
How long were you in the hospital?
How much time did you take off from work - short-term disability or medical leave?

I have a friend who told me the only "prepping" she did was to drink clear liquids the day before her surgery. Anyone drink clear liquids only?

Thanks so much. I have so much apprehension about my upcoming surgery on January 17.

Bay Area Guy
Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 301
   Posted 1/4/2011 7:17 PM (GMT -6)   
I had a temp ileostomy, but only for about 2-1/2 months (which was long enough, thank you), so I can't say about the hernia part. My surgeon reserved the OR for an hour, so I would think with your hernia repair and adding in some time just to be conservative, four hours would be a decent estimate.

I had to go through two colon preps, as I had a colonoscopy performed about two weeks ahead of the reversal. For the colonoscopy, they asked me to take the pills and then drink the magic potion. However, for the liquid diet, I had soup and lime Jello and by the time I was supposed to drink the magic potion, all my bag had was green liquid from the Jello. I called the GI doc and his nurse told me that I wouldn't need to do the rest of the prep.

For the reversal, the surgeon said that if Jello worked fine the first time, do the same thing. I did, except this time, the liquid was yellow because I switched over to lemon Jello.

For both, I did chicken soup. The first time, we got it from the store, but the second time was homemade. Thank you wifey!

Good luck with the reversal. I know the apprehension is going to be there, but once you're reconnected, I think you're going to be very happy. Just make sure you do a lot of walking and be prepared for some pretty good stomach gas the first couple of weeks.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 1325
   Posted 1/4/2011 8:19 PM (GMT -6)   
I do NOT think you need to do any type of prep with an ileostomy. This could result in diarrhea and dehydration.....a total liquid diet for 24 to 48 hours should be sufficient???? I hope somebody comes along with more info about the bowel prep with ileostomies.

I have only had my temporary loop ileo for 6 months and already have developed a parastomal hernia. I plan to have the hernia repaired and a total colectomy with relocation of an end ileostomy. My ileostomy has given me my life back, this is why I have decided to keep it.

How big is your hernia? Mine is the size of a small orange. My doctor said he would close the hernia with mesh. What did your doctor say?
Diagnosed w/colonic inertia, obstructive defecation syndrome, anismus, rectocele, and intussusecption
2005-hysterectomy w/pelvic prolapse repairs
2010-subtotal colectomy, rectopexy, and temporary diverting loop ileostomy. Parastomal hernia discovered in November, so more surgery, probably end ileostomy with relocation of stoma.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 212
   Posted 1/4/2011 9:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Bay Area Guy, thanks for your input. So, are you saying for your reversal you just did the jello - no pills and magic potion? That would be awesome if I didn't have to do the pills. Unfortunately, my doctor does want me to do the pills and magic potion. I'm questioning him about it though, because like answers4me2 mentioned, I would get dehyrdrated (because I already do) especially with all the sodium that is in the stuff.

Thanks, answers4me to for getting back to me as well. My hernia feels like it's as big as a grapefruit. It get especially heavy when my bag gets full. I've had it for about three years. My temporary ileostomy was supposed to be for three months. It's now been 3 1/2 years, but the doctor wanted to wait for me to have a reversal.

Equestrian Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3115
   Posted 1/4/2011 9:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Patients with ileostomies do NOT do the normal prep...we dehydrate too quickly shocked

I had to eat lightly the day before and only had to go NPO after midnight when I had my proctocolectomy (had a temp loop ileo prior to this permanent one). I cannot imagine that you would have to do anything more than that for a reversal and hernia repair.

Usually the docs office sends 'standard' prep paperwork...which tells you to do the total clean out prep. The person stuffing the envelope doesn't know we have ileos or how harmful it could be to us sad
Crohn’s dx 1989
some terrible years before my
temporary ileo in 2001
Proctocolectomy w/end ileo in 2008
...wish I knew then what I know NOW!

Bay Area Guy
Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 301
   Posted 1/4/2011 9:51 PM (GMT -6)   
I did the pills, but not the magic potion. I did drink a lot of fluids during the day, but I had no problems with diarrhea. I agree with the other posters who say that the doctors (well, mainly the staff at the office) tells you to do the normal prep, but if you ask the doctor, he or she will tell you to just make sure you do enough so that the output in your bag is clear or, if you did as I did with Jello, yellow or green.

As for dehydration, I was very lucky in that I had only one bout of dehydration and that was due more to having nausea and vomiting rather than not taking enough liquid in. It also helped that I was severely underweight and anemic after the episode which caused me to need the ileostomy, so I was in the fortunate position of having to eat and drink a lot to get my weight back up.

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 1/13/2011 7:45 PM (GMT -6)   
I am in my fourth week of a ileostomy reversal and hernia repair. Can anyone tell me how long the recovery will be. I know everyone is different so here is my story. In Feb 2010 I had j-pouch surgery with a temporary ileostomy. In June 2010 I had a reversal that went wrong. I was considered a leaker since my wounds would not heal from being steriod dependent. My surgeon said she would not touch me for another six months so I got my stoma back. Finally in December 2010 I got my long awaited surgery which included an ileostomy reversal and a hernia the size of a grapefruit repair.
Now after 4 weeks I am still sore, especially from the hernia repair which was above my ileostomy reversal. The gas is tremendeous and hurts sometimes like the dickins. I take lomotil, but am having difficulty finding the right dose to take. If I take one before a meal, it does not work. If I take 2 before a meal, it completely drys me up. My mouth is extremely dry and I am miserable. The gas is horrible, I take gas-x but it only helps a little. I would appreciate any response.

Thank you, confused

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 1/15/2011 1:03 AM (GMT -6)   
I just had a reversal after 6 months of misery with an ileostomy bag. This whole experience has been completely miserable. I just had my third surgery January 7th. I'm going to the bathroom 15 to 20 times a day with tremendous pressure pains. The doctor gave me lomotil to slow down my bowels but cant seem to figure this out. I need to get back to work and dont know how long until I get some control back? I pretty much stay close to my bed just in case of emergency. Its like having a cold each sympton is horrible and painful. I was so happy to get rid of the bag and was excited to come home from hospital until now.. This is not fun...

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 88
   Posted 1/17/2011 8:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, I am having my reversal on wed ....and I've been given the pills and potion ... I tend to get dehydrated at the best of times ..always kinda low on sodium ...even though I think I drink enough.... and I always put salt in my water. Anyhoo I'm just going to go on liquids from now until I start the prep ...and only take the potion until I see clear liquid come out into my bag. I've been told ...5 days in hosp...and 6 weeks off be on the safe side. :-)
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