A stoma is created by taking a bowel loop from either the colon or the small intestine, over to the abdomen surface, where a pouch is then put over this to collect the waste matter. This is either temporary, or permanent. Stoma reversal is when you reattach it back to the place it needs to be such as the small intestine or colon that’s there. they are both performed in the same way. 

They’re only done if the surgeon is confident that there is a chance you’ll be able to get bowel control once again after you’ve had surgery. You might need to be examined and tested to ensure that the bowel is healed and the sphincter works before you do this. Usually, the following exams are done: 

  • Rectal exams to ensure the sphincter does have bowel control and muscle strength 
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy to see how the bowel has healed 
  • An enemy to make sur ethe bowel doesn’t leak 
  • A CT scan to make sure there’s no diseases which may affect this rejoin

You can get this if you have enough of the rectum left, and usually unless a J pouch surgery is happening, the rectal reservoir will be made from this small bowel, and if you’ve got sphincter control in the anus, don’t have active diseases, and typically are in decent health. 

The timing is definitely considered, especially when receiving cancer treatments such as chemo. It usually is 3-12 months after the initial stoma surgery begins, so that you’ve got enough muscle tone and health for this. 

How this Procedure Works 

It’s actually not as demanding as the initial surgery, but this also depends on the complications, including hernias, that occur at this point. 

This surgery is done with a laparoscopically opening, or done as an open surgery, and usually the surgeon discusses this. But it will not take more than a couple of hours to do this. 

For about 24 hours after you do this, you’ll only be allowed liquids, and you’ll need to rest. After a couple days, you get a softer food diet, and you’ll be encouraged to move around as best as you can. 

You’re in the hospital for about 3-5 days at most, usually you’re let go once you’ve experienced bowel openings without many issues. 

You probably are going to feel weak and pretty tired afterwards, but you can fix this by doing walks that are short to help you get your strength back. 

You should refrain from heavy lifting for up to 8 weeks, and you should be able to drive once you know you can perform a proper stop.  For most people, this is usually around 8 weeks, but it could be a couple of weeks shorter. 

Usually, after surgery the bowel habits do happen to become a little bit erratic in most cases. You may feel the motions becoming loose, with some constipation or trouble with passing bowel movements. 

You also may notice the skin up there is sore, and you might feel incontinence for a bit after surgery. 

While it does take a lot to get used to, and you may try to stay away from foods that disturb your bowel movements, eventually you will get your bowel movements back. At that point, you can reserve your normal movements. 

Getting a stoma reversal takes time and effort, and for a lot of people, it can be a bit cumbersome. But of course, over time, it will get better and better, and many do benefit from this type of surgery as well too.