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Temporary Colostomy and Stoma Reversal Procedure

Updated on May 16, 2017

A temporary colostomy is a procedure whereby the colon has been operated upon by cutting and closing up temporarily, and because of its being disabled, a bypass for the expulsion of feces is created through a stoma opening in the abdomen.

At this time, the colon needs some time to heal and grow back, after which reverse colostomy surgery (colostomy take-down) can be carried out on a patient. And with this reversal, your stoma will no longer be necessary.

Why You May Need a Temporary Colostomy

When a colostomy is reversible, the reasons for this surgical procedure are mainly carried out due to the following reasons:

  1. Trauma and its subsequent damage to the abdomen and subsequently, the colon.
  2. Cancer of the colon
  3. Other diseases or conditions that need intestinal tract surgery.

Carrying out the procedure can take anytime from 1 to 3 hours depending on the type of colostomy surgery being performed; ascending, transverse or descending, the condition of the patient in terms of health, and the extent of the surgical procedure.

Before Your Stoma Reversal

Throughout the duration of your temporary colostomy, and after mentally accepting your condition, you will have become adept at caring for your stoma by ensuring it is clean at all times, especially around its edge, and being adept at changing your colostomy bags whenever required.

And even though you don't have to enjoy the task, because it is a temporary colostomy, you’ll have to accept them for the time being. Care and management are essential, whether the colostomy is reversible or permanent and it must be managed well until it is time to carry out the reversal.

Reversal Procedure

In most cases, it is the surgeon that performed the surgery that does the colostomy reversal.

The period between the procedure and its reversal varies from a couple of months to a few years, but the surgeon is always in a better position to advice as to when a stoma reversal will be carried out.

After your colon is sufficiently healed to your surgeon’s satisfaction, it is time for reverse colostomy.

Reverse colostomy simply involves reconnecting the healed colon to your digestive tract using sutures that will dissolve in the body within three months or thereabouts.

The surgical reconnection allows your digestive tract to function as it did before colostomy surgery was carried out and will more likely than not be performed at the same hospital, by the same surgeon, and attended to briefly by the same stoma ET nurse.

After a Colostomy Closure

After surgery, you may have to wait for some days for normal bowel movements to commence.

By this time, the stoma has been sealed, again with dissolvable sutures, or small metal staples that are eventually removed after complete healing which may take a minimum of two weeks. Removal of stitches or staples will be carried out in the outpatient department of your hospital.

After your reversal, feces is once again eliminated through the rectum and even though your initial bowel movements are loose and may be frequent, with time your body and its digestive system should settle back to normal.

Your initial diet after reverse colostomy must consist of lighter foods in small portions, and gradually, you can revert back to your regular diet subject to your health and condition.

Recent Studies

Latest research studies by the University of Michigan Health System tell us that temporary colostomy patients are generally not as accepting and happy as patients with a permanent colostomy.

Patients with a temporary colostomy hope and yearn for a life without a colostomy, and many postpone getting on with their lives until they have reverse colostomy surgery.

On the other hand, patients with permanent colostomies quickly realise there is no changing their condition so they deal with it squarely and move on happily with their lives.

For the temporary colostomy patient, they are happy it's all over. No more appliances, supplies, colostomy bags, deodorant sprays, "bag ballooning" and funny sounds.

© 2010 Alobeda

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    • AloBeDa profile image

      Alobeda 2 years ago from The Global Village

      Pauline, it is only your doctor/surgeon that will let you know if your colostomy is reversible or not.

      After your surgery, he or she will tell you if your ostomy is a temporary one or permanent one. This is what happened in my case.

      Talk to your doctor and see what he or she says.

      Hope this helps you.

    • profile image

      pauline 2 years ago

      I want to ask if is possible for me to revised after two operations. I had operation in 2004 normal in2006 n onther 2015 but still born by operation I straliza but now um regetting. Can I revise