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Colostomy Reversal

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:01 pm
hi there,
Anyone out there who has went through the reversal of their colostomy.  I have heard good and bad regarding this.  I think I would like to hear some more of the good before I commit myself to have this procedure.

The colostomy itself was not too bad except that I had septia and peritonitis and almost died twice.  Now that that is all over and done with I am scared to go back and have surgery again, even though I hear it is not as bad as what happened before.

If you have any positive feedback, I would love to hear it.


Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:06 pm
Hi Jakeand jypsy

Was the colostomy done due to a perforated bowel?  If so, the peritonitis and sepsis would be from the perforation, not from the colostomy.  

Speaking from the nursing standpoint:  In general it is usually a quicker and less techinical surgery than the initial reason for getting a stoma.

Stacking the cards in your favor to be a good surgical candidate would include:  wt. is stable, nutritional status good, health in general good, have a competent surgeon, any underlying medical conditions corrected and stable.  Length of recovery is usually 5 days, possibly longer if your bowels are slow to move again.  Pain is usually much less than the original surgery for most...though again pain is a very individual thing.

My experience is that most folks are pretty happy to get their anatomy put back together again....and report the surgery as much less difficult and painful than when the ostomy was created.  Recovery time runs around 4-6 wks. for most.

Why don't you set up a consult with your doctor and he/she could go over the particulars?

Can anyone add on this that has had their stoma taken down?
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Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:43 pm
Thanks for the input, it was very helpful.  It was also reassuring.  I am still interested in hearing from other osteomates that have had the reversal.  Have a great week
Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 3:12 am
I had a colostomy from birth until i was 11 years old. Despite the fact that i was very young, i still remember so much about the surgery & how different life was after the procedure. It took many years to have to "re-train" my bowels as i had never used them "properly", so the wait to become continent was hard & ardious. I still have bowel issues today, but much of that also has to do with the fact that i was born with a chronic illness which involves having no bladder so i have a urostomy as well. Having both of the bags was quite a challenge, so getting rid of the colostomy made life easier to deal with.
All i can suggest is doing lots of pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the muscles around your anus-rectum area so that you have some control when the surgery is completed. It will feel quite weird to have your bowels moving freely & (excuse me) but farting for the first few times is quite an experience! Ensure that you see a nutritionist to enable you to eat a healthy & balanced diet. Very important! Also you will really have to learn to "listen" to your body as for the first few times you're not sure if you need to go to the toilet or if it is just wind pain. You want as few accidents as possible! I leaned that the hard way & it was quite embarrising. Luckily i was a child & i didn't take it too personally or as a failure on my part. As an adult it would be a lot harder to deal with i imagine.
I wish you all the luck & happiness in the world. As i have always had a bag, i can't imagine life without one, but if i had the chance i would take the opportunity with both hands. The road may be rough for a while, but things will definetly get better. Just look after yourself & listen to your body. You will be fine & wont know yourself! You will have renewed confidence & self esteem & be a better person for the experience.
Best of luck! Belinda Carroll
Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:44 pm
Hi jakenjypsy44,

7 months after ileostomy reversal I am still retraining. It is hard initially as Bella has indicated you go to the loo very frequently as the brain can not figure out if it is gas or shit. I still go 8-10 times a day, but getting better and reversal is well worth it. Lots of freedom once the bag is gone, almost back to normal.

But this should be decided by your doctor after tests.
Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:20 am
Mine failed but I found out I had Crohns after they got in.  Give it a try!!!!!
Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:55 am
Been there, done it, shame I waited so long - go for it!
  Past Member
Posted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 7:42 pm
Hi Jaken,(who?).
Just kidding, Seriously before I say any more on the subject;  Get to a phone and call your surgeon, set up the reversal!  Best thing I ever did.

Hear this'  I went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, (Ithought it was my liver!)  They decided that since it was congestive, I had fluid around my heart.  They proceded  to inject me with Luvinox in the abdomen, with a needle too long. Punctured my colon 8 times.  Then I really had fluid.  Calls for a colostmy.  Took the whole damn thing.  My Dr was to do a reversal a year later.  When the year was up, and time to lose the bag, she reneged. Said I had to wear it for the rest of my life.  I told her "that dog won't hunt! I found a surgeon who said there was no reason not to reverse. 2 weeks later he did the procedure and I have been great ever since.  I don't know what the big deal is.  After a 6 day stay in the hospital, I came home and have been getting stronger ever since.  It sure is nice to have my farts back too!
Jaken, if had it to do over again I would not hesitate  one minute.  The surgury is a piece of cake and stitches are out is less than two weeks, in the Dr's office.
Go for it lady!!

p.s. I am a 74 year old man , on top of it all.
Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 12:51 pm
My friend had hers reversed. We live 2500 miles apart, so we mostly talk on Facebook, now, but she looks great and is back to work.  She feels normal. She's losing weight, but every woman loves to lose a little weight... unless they're too thin. My friend isn't.

My ostomy is permanent. Cancer took half my anus. My surgeon took the other half... and the cancer... and some cancerous lymph nodes.

I'd love to have a reversal... but I'll have to wait until someone starts growing anal sphincters in a petri dish. Laugh if you will, but there's a researcher in North Carolina who is already growing heart valves and bladders from the patients' own stem cells and transplanting them. Zero chance of rejection.  

But... or BUTT, I should say, I don't think anal transplants are going to be high on the list of new procedures for greedy insurance companies to cover. Get the reversal done now, while you still have (I presume) insurance to cover it (and any possible complications).

To the beautiful lady in Australia with no bladder... the bladder-growing doctor is at Wake Forest University Medical Center in WInston Salem, NC. You can Google him. I wish I could think of his name. If I do, I'll try to find him again... and you. Maybe he can help you. I realize it would require travel, but... perhaps you have money or friends and family who will help... even raise funds to get you here... and pay the medical bill. Wake Forest does offer financial aid, too.  I'd be so happy for you if you could get rid of the other bag. Keep working that pelvic floor!
  Past Member
Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:33 pm
I was encouraged to hear this.  I am about to get an ostomy reversal  procedure and although the last thing that I wanted was another surgery, I like this bag even less and am truly happy to hear what you said because I am considered a prime candidate for an ostomy reversal
  Past Member
Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:25 pm
All opinions are just that ... opinions.  However, hearing what other have to say educates us about alternatives.

My colostomy was an emergency, no previous problems, none since.  I come from the old thought, "if it aint broke don't fix it".  For now, nothing is broken.  My decision was based on the fact that I have had NO problems.  Pooing out my cute little new opening is a non-issue in my life.  Therefore, It was an easy decision for me.  

There could be issues that would cause me to reconsider but for now, no surgery for me.  I researched my options carefully before deciding including reading stories shared on this site.    

I hope you will re-post at some time in the future to update us.
Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:34 pm
Jakenandjypsy: well you're off to a fine start and in your case there is no such thing as too much information, and you seem to be getting a lot of that, BUT you should find out about those who had very bad experiences and why, then you can make an even better decision also take the time to really check out the surgeon, you want someone who does nothing else but repair bowels and not someone who does it as a sideline. We'll be watching and waiting and hoping you have a successful reversal, Ed
Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 5:37 pm
I'm going in for my reversal tomorrow.  OHSU, Portland, OR 6-8 hour surgery, 2-3 surgeons, 6 point abdominal reconstruction/rearrangement.  Wish me luck it's been a long haul.  You all have been so supportive.  Thank you!  I will report back when I can.
Posted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:44 am

Today I am ten days out from my reversal.  I had a transverse loop for 5 months and prior to this a sigmoid for 4 months.  I developed a leak and many abscesses in betwee n.  That said I feel great!!!!  

I too had no problem with Stella or Trina, yes they each got their own name.  Everything is working, I feel better than I have in years.  If you're a candidate I would go for it.  Good luck and God bless!!

  Past Member
Posted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 6:28 pm

Greetings, one and all:

I am three weeks out from my end colostomy reversal.  Was in the hospital for 5 days, 4 of them with an epidural (Fentanyl) in place.  Had no trouble walking up and down the halls of the hospital while that was working.  After it (and the urinary catheter) got pulled, then some pain began.  I was on oxycontin and oxycodone for a couple of days, and then Tylenol did whatever was needed after that.  Haven't needed any Tylenol since last Friday (today's Wednesday).  Cannot wear a belt yet -- the incisions (one vertical for access to the inner sanctum, one horizontal for removal of the stoma) are still quite tender.

12 days after the surgery, my reconnected piping began working.  And working.  And working.  I average 5-10 trips to the toilet daily now.  Not diarrhoea exactly, but rather thick worm-like pellets and occasional mucus and other liquid showing up.  When I have to go, I really really have to!  Stop what you're doing, Peter, and get in there NOW.

I'm 81, and initially, after the emergency surgery that necessitated the temporary colostomy (perforation of a diverticulitis pocket and peritonitis), I swore that I would never again go willingly in for surgery.  I was in for 10 days at that time, due to a misplaced catheter and resultant urethral bleeding, and it was awful.

This time, relatively, 'twas a piece o' cake.  I'm delighted to be rid of the barrieers, bags and such.  Eager to things down South to resume normal operation.

Feels like my lower colon has passed Open Pipe 1A, and is now enrolled in Compaction 101:  When to Hold, When to Let Go.

I'm wondering how long it has taken others to regain full sphincter control.  I'm wearing adult diaper-pants, which is OK, I guess...but I don't trust my system enough to go out anywhere for any extended period of time, for fear that I'll not be able to make it in time to a toilet and will end up walking around with loaded diaper-pants.

Appreciate any feedback/information, and happy to reply to others' questions about the whole process.

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