An ileostomy is a big life change. In the procedure, part of the small intestine is removed and restructured to provide an outlet, or stoma, for waste to exit. You’ll need to modify your lifestyle and may need to carry an external bag.
You may need an ileostomy if you have any of the following conditions.
You may not be an expert on ileostomies, but you can take steps to ensure that you choose an ileostomy specialist who makes you feel comfortable and who is an expert in the field. The following are some tips to guide you.
Ask to see credentials.
An ileostomy specialist should focus on her area of specialty – ileostomies. Ask potential surgeons whether they solely perform ileostomies and colostomies, or whether they branch out into other surgery types. Also ask about credentials, including education and membership to professional organizations, such as the American College of Surgeons (ACS). To become a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS), a surgeon must meet certain requirements regarding experience and medical practice.
Learn about surgical options.
There are a few different ileostomy techniques that a surgeon can perform. Ask what your options are. An ileoanal J-pouch, which leaves you carrying a carrying an external pouch or bag, can lead to a failed J pouch and the need to reverse the surgery. You may be a better candidate for traditional ileostomy or Barnett Continent Intestinal Reservoir (BCIR).
Ask all of your questions.
An ileostomy is a big deal, and you need to be able to communicate with your ileostomy specialist. Bring a list with all of your questions to your initial consultation. Look for another clinic if the ileostomy specialist doesn’t take the time to listen to your questions and answer them in as much detail as you want. You shouldn’t need to listen to medical jargon or be spoken to like a child. Instead, you should be treated with respect.
Learn about supportive care.
You will need to make a few adjustments in your life after an ileostomy. Choose an ileostomy specialist whose clinic provides the ongoing support you may need. This can include extensive information on diet tricks and safe ileostomy exercises to avoid increasing your risk of a failed J pouch. Your clinic should also suggest support groups for you to attend to make your transition easier.
You may be looking for an ileostomy specialist if you need an ileostomy or you’re suffering from a failed J pouch. Choosing a physician can be difficult, but a few key criteria can guide you. Look for a specialist who is experienced and personable to improve your chances of having a good experience.