colostomy reversal


hi! I am sort of new to the forum here. I have been a frequent reader but have only just created a user name.

One subject I had tried to research earlier was a reversal of a temporary colostomy and could not find much information available.

I thought I would add our experience for others.

my husband (47) has been battling cancer stage IV CRC with liver mets since July 2016. He went in for a standard colon resection to remove the tumor  and after five days of sickness and nausea they realized the area of resection was leaking and he had emergency surgery.He woke up with the dreaded "bag".

It was no big deal for us really because we were so happy he was going to be okay. He had been so sick before and after the first surgery and he was already feeling so much better with the colostomy....but he was not sad to see it go when he had the chance to have removed.  (I am skipping lots of chemo and hepatitc lobectomy and you will notice my spelling is auctracious lol).

Just wanted to post what it was like for him to get the reversal. His colostomy was in the sigmoid colon. The reversal surgery is just as bad as the resection surgery. Expect a week in the hospital at least. The surgery itself took three hours but I'm sure this varies greatly. The recovery in the hospital  is the same process as the original resection: waiting for clear liquids, liquids and working your way up the food level scale and then you just sit around in the hospital waiting for the new plumbing to work to make sure its all functional.

He had fevers off and on and they gave him the entire arsenal of antibiodics. Per doctor, this was due to the large amount of bacteria from the stoma site and surgical area in general. I kept having flashback to the original resection when the fevers lead to the discovery of the leakeage, but the doctor was reassuring and did a scan to verifiy that was not the case.

They orginally had four stitches over the previous stoma area, but they had to remove two to prevent infection from building up under them. It allowed the site to breathe? This left a rather larger quarter size, two inch deep open wound in his abdomen that needed to be packed and cleaned twice daily. I nearly fainted when I first saw it, but you have to move on. It took about two weeks to heal completely.  At one point they were worried he may have had a blood infection (septic) but thankfully that was not the case.

He had quite a bit of pain similar to the first resection surgery. He said it felt like a muscle cramp after doing too many sit ups but he was quick to walk around and it helped prevent stiffness. He tried to take as few opiods as possible to prevent the constipation they cause.  He still lacks energy five weeks out and some days are better than others, but we just take it slow and I get very excited when he feels like doing little laundry (wahoo!) They have started him back on four more cycles of chemo and that definetly doesn't help his energy...but all and all his plumbing is functional and he feels more like himself. He never really minded the bag and said they had the convienences but he is glad to be rid of it. The surgery was not an easy one though. Hope this helps someone out there with what to expect!

Speedy recovery and Blessings to all!









  • Kmessier
    Kmessier Member Posts: 79
    Colostomy reversal

    I want to say thank you for posting and I'm so glad that your husband is doing well and that he got rid of the "bag". Blessings to both of you and to a continued recovery. I had to her a temporary ileostomy for 8 weeks it was reversed in late February I'll be honest I've had problems with diarrhea and occasiona incontinence but I think it's getting better. I was diagnosed stage 3b breast and colorectal cancer I had to have a left mastectomy and right lumpectom. My main tumor in my colon was more of the rectum but into my sigmoid colon. I'm not going to go into any more my story I mainly just wanted to thank you for sharing you and your husbands stort. Many blessings for a speedy recovery. 

    ~ Kim ~

  • danker
    danker Member Posts: 1,276 Member
    edited June 2017 #3

    Yes, it will get better with time!  'til then, try LOMOTil( need a dx from doc) for the diarrhea. and Radiagel ( available at wallmart) if you are having any bunn burn.  

  • ThomasH
    ThomasH Member Posts: 106 Member
    ileostomy reversal

    I had a temporary ileostomy for about 10 months after I had my first surgery for my stage 4 crc. For the record, I tolerated "The Bag", but I really hated having it. I never did really find a good way to prevent the skin irritation from both the adhesive, and from the small gap between the bag seal and the stoma. I spent the whole time with constant bloody open sores, like a diaper rash on my belly.

    Happily, I had my reversal in January as part of my cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC. I had small problems with the diarrhea for a while, but nothing that couldn't be handled with just an immodium or two. Things have mostly settled down now after almost 6 months. I still have to pay attention to what I eat because I will occasionally still get what I like to call SEBS (Suddenly Enthusiastic Bowel Syndrome) But gradually that is getting better.

    I hope your husband continues to improve steadily and rapidly.