Healing Time for Old Stoma Site?


Hi folks, I've been in the hospital since Monday, just released from having my surgery to remove my large intestine and my old stoma from my original colostomy, leaving me with my ileostomy. This was the final step and I am so relieved to have it behind me. Everything went well and they were great in the hospital, but it's sure good to be home! I am left with what is referred to as a "dirty wound" where my old stoma was, nice name. They leave it open a little because closing it up would cause an infection. So, I have this small hole, but very deep, probably a good inch, and the bandage needs to be changed and the wound "packed" daily. Packing involves stuffing this antimicrobial material into it. It's painful and a really unpleasant experience. I don't do it, wouldn't have the stomach for it, but go to a clinic daily to have it done. I was told at the hospital that this could take from one to two weeks or even more before it heals itself from the inside out. I'm just wondering if anyone out there has been through this and what their experience was. How long did it take you to heal?

I'm still in quite a lot of pain, but I'm feeling really optimistic about the future. Once this has all healed up and I just have my pretty well-functioning ileostomy to deal with, I will feel quite content. It's been nearly two years since my emergency colostomy that started this whole roller coaster, and seven hospitalizations later, I think I'm finally finished! This site and you lovely people have played no small part in getting me here, so many thanks!



Rest and feel better, Terry... Although you had a colostomy... welcome to the ileo life.


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Hi Terry, sorry you are having so much pain. Hope you have a speedy recovery.


Hi Terry

I hope you have a speedy recovery. Welcome to the ileostomy club. For healing wounds, it all depends on how healthy the wound is. In my line of work, I have had patients whose wounds healed within 2-3 weeks. On rare occasions, I have had a few whose taken up to 6 months to heal. It's strange how countries differ with wound care. We no longer pack holes after 5 days. We have found that this encourages the wound to stay open. Instead, we layer the ribbon rather than pushing it down. XX


Hi Terry,

Wow, you've been through a lot... glad to hear it all went well. I didn't have what you described, but I did once have a large drain tube inserted into my lower abdomen to drain fluid from my Psoas abscess. I ended up pulling the tube out accidentally when I jumped off my tractor seat and it got caught on the implement level control. They said it would heal from the inside out, which it did. It took about 4 weeks in total for it to fully close and then another week or two for the scabs to disappear. Just had to take it easy and not do anything (else) that was stupid. That's always hard for me... but it worked out in the end. I hope yours heals even faster! Great to hear you're doing good! Good news is often lacking on here... so that's awesome!



Words of Encouragement from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister

Terry, sorry you've endured so much pain. So glad that's behind you and you're now on the recovery road. Praying for your continued strength to recover.
Take care,



Hello Terry.

Like everyone else has said  -- I wish you well


ron in mich

Hi Terry, I hope your recovery goes well. When I had surgery a few years ago, the surgeon left the last inch open to drain and just taped a gauze pad over it. Two weeks later, when the staples were removed, it was just a red sore spot and the rest healed. The surgeon said to keep an eye on it to see if it isn't infected, but it finally healed.

Past Member

I had 2 stomas at one point. The 1st one was only temporary for 1 year. When that was removed, it took about 6 weeks to heal fully. I'm usually a bad healer, so that was quick for me. Hopefully, yours heals sooner. Nurses always tell me to eat plenty of fruit as it helps the healing process.


May I add my good wishes for an early recovery, sounds like a tough experience which you have lightened by handling it well.

Morning glory

Hi Terry, I am adding well wishes along with others. Take it easy.


Reply to Ritz

Thanks Ritz. Actually, I've had my ileostomy for around ten months, so since then I've been living with two stomas, more than enough, let me tell you! They had to wait to see if the ileo worked well for me before deciding to go ahead and remove the old stoma and large bowel. So glad to see it gone!

Reply to Caz67

Thanks for this Caz. The nurse at the wound clinic did say they would assess me after five days to see if I needed to come in less often, and she did say that they have found the wound heals better if left on its own.

Reply to Anonymous

Wow, six weeks? Good to know so I don't have unrealistic expectations! Thanks.


I had to have my ileostomy moved to my other side and I had packing in me 10" deep because it was on a slant. It took bottles of gauze to fill. I had a nurse come to my home every day! He removed the packing from the previous day, I'd jump in the shower while he did paperwork and then he'd repack the gaping wound! This continued for 5 months straight then when it got shallow (about 2" deep) I was able to do it myself. The nerve endings eventually die and after 1.5 months it wasn't so excruciating anymore. I feel so bad for anyone dealing with this. It was honestly one of the most painful things I've ever experienced - trust me, I've had severe injuries such as drains jammed into my side, multiple bones break through my skin (compound fractures: tibia and fibula, ulna and radius) due to a car accident. So, yes, it's quite painful. I wish you the best. Just know it won't always be this painful.


Hi Terry,

Glad the dreaded surgery is behind you! You have a great attitude about getting on with it!
Hope your recovery is speedy!


Hi Terry,

Sorry you are having such pain but at least the worst is behind you. When I had most of my large bowel removed and my ileostomy placed, I was extremely ill and my main surgery wound would not stay closed as it would fill with fluid and break open. It was left open to heal on its own (with lots of packing and unpacking of gauze) and that took about 3 months total. That seems like a long time, but I was very ill and it was quite a large wound. Yours probably won't take so long. Plus, the way they treat wounds has come a long way since I had my surgery in 1995. I hope you heal quickly and feel better soon.


Reply to Casper9

Hi Casper, thanks for this! I just returned from seeing the wound care nurse and I have developed a little bump right above my wound site. It is very tender to the touch and the nurse said she thinks it might be a fluid build-up, so interesting to receive your note! I'm seeing my surgeon on Tuesday, so hopefully he will shed more light. I hope that is what it is as the nurse said it should just drain itself or absorb naturally. I guess I'm lucky as the nurse said I'm healing well. It sounds like what you went through was awful! Take care,


Reply to PghQueen

Damn girl........you sound like you were a stunt double for Evel Knievel! Now I know who to call when I bust, break or tear something!!



Reply to PghQueen

I too, ladies, had my 7" ileostomy incision packed daily. Yes, at the top of the list for super painful stuff. I hope each day it gets better and better for you. Carol B.

Past Member

On October 13th, I had to have a hernia removed, which was a good thing ultimately because they removed the scar tissue from the 12 surgeries I had last year because of my perforated intestine. Anyhow, now I have a 14" scar down the middle of my belly, which suddenly opened up about an inch and a 1/2 the day of my follow-up with the doctor. I woke up to a belly of blood.

He said this sometimes happens, not to worry, but I have to pack it twice a day. It's been 2 weeks now, and finally today I noticed that I can use less packing. It's quite deep, but I don't know how deep I've never measured it. He told me that it will close up from the inside, and it would take probably about 6 to 8 weeks.

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