Ileostomy reversal - what to expect?

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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 3/18/2012 1:05 PM (GMT -7)   

My son had prostate surgery May, 2011.  Two months later he developed severe complications which required emergency surgery and 16 inches of colon removed.  He has been wearing an ileostomy bag since. Later this month he is scheduled to have the ileostomy reversed and I will be his primary caregiver.  Can anyone tell me what to expect  during and after surgery?  Do I need to purchase extra supplies for when he's released from the hospital?  Did your dr. completely close the stoma site or leave it partially open?  I have read leaving a small opening prevents infection. Any information you can give will be sincerely appreciated!

Thank you. 

Bay Area Guy
Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 295
   Posted 3/18/2012 1:35 PM (GMT -7)   
I had surgery to remove about 18 inches of my sigmoid colon in 2010. I had an ileo for about two months, then got reconnected. So, unlike most of the folks here, I don't have a permanent ileo, nor do I have a J-pouch. It sounds like your son will be similar to my situation. I had my predation on a Monday. I was walking on Tuesday and I really needed to walk. I had very intense tomach gas and walking helped. I was very bad Tuesday night and walked from about 11Pm to 4AM. I got to know the night shift really well. Around 4AM, I was able to pass gas and about an hour later came my first bowel movement. After that, I was on the toilet about 12 times that day until my surgeon finally took pity on me and let have an Immodium. Things were ine after that. I was discharged on Friday and my ileo incision was kept slightly open to allow draining and prevent infection. It took about two weeks for it to completely close and my wife helped me dress the wound and also to clean it out. I kept my diet similar to the ileo diet, meaning not a lot of fibrous foods. I gradually added fiber back in and within about two months, I was back to my normal diet. In terms of exercise, my surgeon told me no weights for at least a month. I think I cheated. Little and started back in on light weights in three weeks. I did a lot of walking for cardio exercise and now do about 5 or 6 miles on the treadmill each day, along with my regular weight routine at he gym. The only complication I had was about 5 months after I was reconnected, we returned fom a cruise to Mexico and I had to be hospitalized with a bowel obstruction. Apparently, I didn't drink enough water and probably had a little too much wine, which ended up dehydrating me. Because my colon was already a little constricted in the area of he reconnect, the dehydration just blocked everything. Lots of Luis took care of everything, though.

So, based on my experience

Walk a lot
Drink plenty of fluids
Keep with an ileo diet at first and gradually add foods
Be prepared for a lot of gas pains for about a month
Be ready to clean and dress the wound

Good luck to both you and your son.

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 3/28/2012 1:51 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you Bay Area Guy.....I had an emergency ileo back in late October and I go for my reversal surgery in early April.....I only had 4 inches of my small intestines removed.....but needless to say....I'm excited for the surgery....I have chatted with several people who have had the surgery and have gotten all sorts of different stories....some have gotten hernias...some have had horrible diarrhea....and alot said its much easier to recover from then the ostomy surgery....mine was an emergency and I also had a total hysterectomy done....I was on the respirator for 9 days and in ICU for 2 weeks.....but needless to say...I am the picture of health right now and anxiously awaiting the reversal....thanks for all of your info....its greatly appreciated....hope you are healthy as a horse now!!!! lol

Bay Area Guy
Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 295
   Posted 3/28/2012 4:27 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm doing pretty good physically these days. It was a rough few months while I had the ileo and, honestly, I don't know if I would have gotten through it without my wife. She kept on me about my diet and helped with the bags and cleaning.

Your experience sounds a lot worse than mine. I wasn't on a respirator and I didn't have a hysterectomy (unless something really strange happened). I did have to go back in for small bowel obstruction and then again because I contracted pneumonia (probably from that wonderful NG tube. While I was in for that, I had a prolapse, which meant another surgery to correct that and redo the ileo. At one time, I was convinced I would never get out, but my wife kept beating optimism into m nd I am fine now.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 254
   Posted 3/28/2012 11:53 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm a 22 year old with a J pouch and honestly, after you get home from the hospital stay, there isn't MUCH care to be done besides just basically waiting on him smilewinkgrin Of course he will be VERY weak and will need help with things as simple as getting off the couch.

The surgeon will usually suture the stoma site from the inside I believe, and from the outside it almost looks like an open wound, but it's not and I believe as you said, it is to prevent infections. It will heal up and there will be a pretty decent size scar (I hate the stoma site scar 100 X's more then where they cut me open down the middle of my stomach) . Best of luck to you and your son!!!

Just for a positive for the whole experience, I am back to racing motocross with my J pouch and living a full active life, I actually just took a very very very serious crash and broke my collar bone, they were worried of internal injuries and a broken pelvis, and my j pouch was 100% fine! turn Here is one of my posts if you wanna take a look and show your son that this will not keep him from doing anything!
21 Year Old Male

Diagnosed with Moderate/Severe Ulcerative Colitis May 2008
3 Flair ups (first flair- 2 months/Second Flair- 2 months/ Third flair- One week, then surgery)

-Full Ileostomy surgery done on july 22!
-J pouch DONE--January 6th

Living a COMPLETELY normal and active life with a J pouch!
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