Ileostomy surgery is performed for a number of different reasons involving various medical diseases and health conditions. It is usually performed when a disease or bowel damage cannot be treated through non-surgical methods.
The most common reasons for having this type of surgery is when the patient has an inflammatory bowel disease, which includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. In addition, individuals with Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) who have polyps inside the large intestine which may become cancerous may require this type of surgery. Ileostomies are also performed in some cases of cancer.
Not all ileostomies are permanent; some can be a short-term solution that can be reversed through an ileostomy reversal.
During an ileostomy surgical procedure, the surgeon creates an opening in the abdominal wall, or your belly. The lowest portion of the small intestine is pulled through this belly opening, creating a stoma. The stoma is usually located on the right side of your abdomen.
The stoma will look red or pink, and will be moist. It looks similar to the inside of your cheek. The stoma is essential a look into the lining of your small intention. Some stomas will be flush with the skin, while others will protrude slightly. A stoma is usually oval or round. Most stomas shrink somewhat after surgery.
Unlike the anus in your rectum, which essentially has a close-off muscle, they stoma remains open. This means you don’t have control over the stool passage through it. However, there is no pain or discomfort from the stoma itself, because it does not have nerve endings.
Patients who have an ileostomy wear a pouch that serves to collect the waste. Because the pouch fits snugly next to the body, they can be invisible under clothing. The pouch must be emptied of its waste several times per day. People who have had an ileostomy find that they can enjoy a normal diet.
While ileostomies have been widely performed in the past, there are alternatives to the procedure and the option of having an ileostomy reversed in some cases.
An increasingly popular alternative to ileostomy surgery is known as the BCIR, or Barnett Continent Intestinal Reservoir. This procedure provides patients with control over eliminating their waste, since an internal pouch is created which is self-sealing. It is constructed using the patient’s own small intestine and is connected directly to the patient’s abdomen by a small stoma opening.