Proctectomy Recovery: Need Help Duration?


I have a full proscrolectomy coming up. What is recovery like? We recently moved out of state, so I am trying to figure out how long to fly family out to help care for me as my husband can only take a little time off. Not sure how long I need help getting around or even just cleaning and caring for my kids.


Laparoscopically will result in a much faster abdominal recovery, but won't make a difference regarding your butt healing.

I ended up having mine done open surgery and honestly the abdominal side of things was pretty straightforward even after having been cut wide open. It was the rear end side of things that really took a while.

As of today, I'm 4 months post-op, and back to full duties in a very physical line of work for the past 3 weeks.

So call it a pretty close to full heal in 3 months, doing everything I did prior....biggest concern was riding a bike, which I've already been doing, in moderation mind you, but I'm back in the saddle.

Hospital stay was 10 days I think, no lifting the kids for 8 weeks, and since then it's been a gradual progression back to normal.

Epsom salt baths really helped speed up my bum healing process, I encourage you to do this as soon as you're allowed!

So ultimately to answer your question, I'd say a good 3 weeks minimum of hands-on help from family.

It's a slow go at first, but you'll hit a curve and things will speed up. Build your team around you for best results, seriously. Do everything you can. Physio, chiro, counseling, naturopath, GP, ostomy nurse, dietician, and surgeon of course.

Any questions send me a message!!

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NJ Bain


I'm guessing you meant proctocolectomy or removal of the rectum, aka, barbie butt. Humor helps us all deal with this a little better. I'm also guessing that you're going to end up with an ileostomy? I won't sugar coat it for you but here goes nothing.

The average hospital stay is about a week but it's different with every patient. You will wake up with a tube in your nose, down your throat that goes into your stomach. They will probably get you on your feet as soon as possible. You will be sore from the surgery and from the air they put into your abdomen so they can perform the procedure. The air will dissipate through your body so you might feel some soreness in your shoulders. I know, sounds weird right?

You will probably be on clear liquids for a couple of days and move on to surgical soft food. You may have some ghost sensation on needing to have a bowel movement but this will pass. If all goes well with no complications, you should be home in a week.

As far as recovery time goes to where you feel somewhat normal, that can take 6-8 weeks. During this time, you should take it easy and not do anything that will overwhelm you. Do not lift heavy items for risk of a hernia. You will get your strength back in time. I'm not sure how old your children are but it will be hard not to pick them up. But don't do it. Not until you've gained some strength back into your stomach muscles and if you do so, perhaps get a hernia belt just for the first year.

When you start eating solid food again, be sure to chew your food VERY, VERY well. Almost to a paste consistency. I say this so you can avoid the dreaded obstruction or blockage. A lot of us have learned the hard way about this lesson. This allows for better digestion, it makes your "I'm full" meter happen faster and you absorb more nutrition from the food.

I myself was in the hospital for 2 weeks, was out for 3 days and then had to go back in for another 2 weeks because of an abscess. After another month of recovery, I was feeling more like myself. I slowly regained my strength to where I could return to normal activities. Now, this is my own personal experience and everyone's will be different.

I also found this article on Proctocolectomy's. I hope you find it helpful. I'm sure some of our other members will be happy to share as well. Please let us know if you have any more questions.



Thanks both of you for the reply. My doctor just did a proctolectomy on a 20-something and he was in the hospital 4 days and back to school and work and driving in 3 weeks. Well, I'm not 20. But I am still rather young, nearing 40. My kiddos are early elementary. I am excited to be recovered but dreading recovery and surgery. Just thinking about it raises my normal blood pressure over 140, no joke. Plus anesthesia gives me panic attacks and acts of violence as I come to, but I will likely be in such pain and so connected to tubes that I guess I won't be able to flail around much. How long does the surgery itself take, and how long after entering surgery will I be with it enough to talk to my husband who will be there for the surgery? Well, not in the surgery room of course.

NJ Bain


I'm not really sure how long the surgery will take. Again, it's different with everyone. And you will probably be pretty groggy the first day. The next morning or so, you will probably be more able to talk to him. You may be able to talk to him in the recovery room but you probably won't want

You're going to do fine. Just think of it as a nap and it will be over with before you know it. Let us know if you have any more questions.


Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister

Typically, I was told 3-4 hours from the time you go to sleep, to the time they're finished.

It also depends on a slew of other variables - if they do it laparoscopically, versus open surgery....that's kinda the big difference maker with timing and healing abdominally at least.

Another variable is scar tissue, and how much you've got in there. So in my case, they started laparoscopically, got one hole poked and had a look inside but there was a ton of scar tissue, adhesions blah blah, so 1 - they cut me wide open cause there was no room to move around laparoscopically, and then 2, they spent 3 hours cutting all the adhesions out, and then proceeded with the procedure. So for me, it was start to finish about 5 hrs I believe.

To answer your second part, I was able to phone my wife while I was still coming off the anesthesia, which according to her was hilarious, as I was able to tell her about the surgery but was more focused on ensuring she kept her stick on the ice. Thanks Red Green.

So just take a big deep breath and understand it will all work out. There will be hard parts that frustrate you, and then moments of peace and gratitude where you'll be pleased with your decision. It's a process. It really is, but that's why this resource here exists. So ask questions along the way! And remember those Epsom salt baths!!


I am home, got home yesterday afternoon after surgery late afternoon Sept 12. All colon gone and they did a lower incision way below my belly button to scrape part of my rectum out. So far as I know, no Barbie butt although I haven't asked and can't maneuver to look myself. But they said they might need to go back in a year and get the rest. So there's a little pinchy electric feeling down there sometimes hence I'm on a nerve pain med.

Wal-Mart scooters are terribly uncomfortable for your tailbone and nearly-Barbie butt after surgery, just an fyi. I went for a journey to buy slippers :)

The pain the night of surgery was unbearable. I gave birth unmedicated and it was that level of pain or worse, and that was while on a ketamine opioids drip. They had to bump the level to hallucination and heart palpitations level to ease the pain. Apparently I am a very mean person in that high of a level and don't get hallucinations or palpitations. But it did elevate my blood pressure...even when on a very low dose.

Pain from day 1 post-op feels like contractions, so...manageable awful lol. I walked day 1. I walked a lot afterwards considering, so I impressed the doctors.

Pain now is more gas pain as I had a T-blocker and my innards didn't wake up until 3 days post-op. So the doctor said I would still have gas pain. And back pain from compensating for frontal pain. And I can't stand upright yet. I have to do the tuck and roll procedure to get out of bed and actually haven't even tried a bed....I'm in a push-button recliner so I use the armrest to tuck, roll, push myself up and out.

NJ Bain


Glad to hear the surgery went somewhat well. Yes, the pain can suck. Hopefully it will subside soon. Hang in there!


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