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Problems after bowel resection

MandiePandie's picture
Posts: 82
Joined: Dec 2020

So, dad had bowel resection on 1/20. It took almost 11 hours, he has a small pelvis and dense tissue. The surgeon said she ended up removing just a small part of the sigmoid and a little bit of the rectum, instead of the whole sigmoid. He passed gas in the hospital the very same night and all seemed good. We brought him home on 1/22. 

He hasn't had a bowel movement since 1/22, he has been passing gas but says he feels pressure in his rectum as if he is constipated. He also has developed left sided abdominal swelling, an inability to eat much because he just feels so full, and the last two nights he had a fever of 102 (it came down after an hour or so). He also is having so much swelling in his groin (mom told me about it, dad was too shy), supposedly he can't see his privates and it's swollen and discolored and it even hurts him to sit. 

we called his surgeon and she didn't seem too alaramed but said to go to the ER since she couldn't see him. Did anyone experience anything similar? especially any males with swelling of the groin and scrotum? 

He is at the ER now just waiting to be seen but this is so nerve wracking, he was doing so well, walking a lot, not a ton of pain. 

airborne72's picture
Posts: 281
Joined: Sep 2012


My situation was different, but with some similarities.  When I had my resection in late 2017 I ended up with an ileostomy (wasn't anticipated) so the southern half of my intestines (large) was temporarily out of action for six months.  But, for about two weeks after my resection surgery my scrotum was swollen, discolored, and "extremely" sensitive.  I think it was due to fluid retention from the surgery.  I was discharged without any drainage port so maybe that contributed to the swelling.

In 2009 I had prostate cancer and underwent a radical prostatectomy.  After that procedure I also had significant scrotum swelling.  Consequently, the swollen scrotum after the resection surgery was not that concerning.  Just some of the temporary inconvenience of treating CRC and PCA.

In late March 2018 I had my ileostomy reversed.  I was so happy and motivated to do so that I was able to endure the pain of the procedure, and recovery, with some sense of adulthood.  But it hurt.  I was in the hospital for only three days for my resection but four days for my reversal.  It is a slow process for the "inactive" colon to become active (measured in days).  During that time my diet was gradually increased from liquid to soft foods to regular foods.  My stomach bloated.  My intestines GROWLED.  Little appetite.  I puked before I had a BM.  But once we got the system working it was pretty much a regular event (every two hours and liquid) for several days (so irritating and embarrassing).  Then things slowed down and solidified somewhat.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones who, after three years, have been able to establish a manageable BM schedule.  Not as good as I once was but for the most part I consider myself in charge of my intestines.

CRC, its treatment, and its lasting effects vary with the individual and it's not pleasant, but I would recommend that you tell your father to be patient and positive.  It takes time to adjust to the readjustment of our internal plumbing.

Incidentally, I am 69.  Underwent the prostate surgery, etc., when I was a young pup at 58.  Underwent the CRC radiation/chemo/surgery/chemo/surgery when I was 66.  Don't know how old your father is but perhaps he can compare.

Cancer continues to suck.


MandiePandie's picture
Posts: 82
Joined: Dec 2020

He's admitted at the hospital now, although they believe the swelling in his private area is normal, his imaging is showing some pockets of infections. 

The main concern With that now is possibly a permanent ostomy. My father, like so many others I'm sure, would take a permanent ostomy as a life ending situation. i know too well all of what so many people go through and while part of me wants to tell him how lucky we could be if his only lasting effect would be an ostomy... I know it's not my place to do so, and also something I couldn't guarantee anyway. 

Dad is 51 as of a few weeks ago, and he's never been one to be able to cope with discomfort. Now that life is getting too real, I just wish I could minimize this Illness for him but I feel already I have failed. I should have forced him to the ER sooner instead of letting him wait a day and a half. 

Tueffel's picture
Posts: 262
Joined: Feb 2020

My dad had not these problems. He got his sigmoid resected and after a week he got home. 2 days later he was back in a hospital because his wound got infected. So again a week and we were really worried. 

My dads surgery lasted 4 hours and he has a stoma so his bowels got properly heal. Still we think that he left the hospital too early. 

2 days after an 11 hours operation is in my opinion way too early. Yeah he passed gas but what about the stool? The stool has to go through the freshly operated area. I assume that his colon was also flushed to clean it and have an easier surgery. 

Did he eat normally after the surgery? My dad got after both surgeries light meals to relax the bowel. 

It is good that he is in an ER now. They should check him properly and I am sure that they will find the reason for his problems. They will for sure give him some antibiotics. But dont worry, colon surgeries are dirty surgeries because of the bacteria in the gut. Infections etc happen quite easy then. 

MandiePandie's picture
Posts: 82
Joined: Dec 2020

So he's admitted now because his CT showed a seroma behind his biggest insicion (pubic area) and what the radiologist believes was a "deeper pocket of infection at the anastamosis". At least that is what the radiologist said. His surgeon reviewed the CT and agreed with the seroma but said the second area of infection was "a few scans above" the anastamosis site. 

Of course dad is freaking out that he may have to have a permanent ostomy because of this. The seroma will be drained bedside but the surgeon started him on IV zosyn and wants to wait and see what will happen. 

He ate some yogurt and egg and toast in the hospital and had some dark liquid bowel movements while there on the 21st and 22nd, he continued to eat the same soft low residue at home but the bowel movements had stopped.

They didn't see any reason for the full feeling he was experiencing on the CT but he is NPO now because of the possibility of surgery. I questioned why they didn't do post operative  antibiotics and now I wish I had at least pushed for an answer then instead of waiting like we did. I was just so happy that after an 11 hour surgery that he was ok that I let my guard down. Won't happen again. 

I know an ostomy isn't the end of the world, but already this is all so hard on my dad. We still don't know staging or if he needs chemo. I don't know what I should do now to make sure he is getting proper care. 

abrub's picture
Posts: 2166
Joined: Mar 2010

I had one when I developed an infection/abscess where the surgeon nicked my rectum during recent colorectal surgery to remove a tumor adjacent to my rectum.  He wanted the infection to fully resolve and heal, and my ostomy was reversed last month.  I'm as good as new!


Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6711
Joined: Feb 2009

I'm so sorry to hear this.  It's a good thing that your dad is in the hospital right now, just where he belongs.  Hopefully they can get the bowels moving again, eliminating the need for a permanet ostomy.  I've had one and it is doable.  Mine was reversed but now some days I'll go up to 15 times a day, and most of the time it's not always dependable or a warning.  Sounds like your dad is in good hands.  Hope that all goes well for him.


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