Ileostomies both save and change patients’ lives. Over the last two decades, doctors have developed a number of procedures to accomplish the work of an ileostomy. Understanding the ileostomy alternatives currently available can help reduce the stress associated with major surgery.
Patients who require removal of their colon (large intestine) via a colectomy and those whose rectums must also be removed in a proctocolectomy need an alternative for waste to exit the body. The procedure known as a traditional or Brooke ileostomy came about in the 1950s, according to BCIRhistory.com.
Some patients today still undergo this kind of surgery, either on a temporary or a permanent basis. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the main reasons it might be necessary include:
Surgeons perform an ileostomy by forming a new path for waste to exit. They create an opening in the abdomen called a stoma, then direct the end of the small intestine through it. Waste exits the body and collects in a removable bag the patient empties periodically.
Surgeons recommend an ileostomy, or an alternative procedure based on whether the patient requires removal of both the colon and the rectum and whether the surgery is intended to be temporary or permanent.
NIDDK indicates that these are the current options: