If you’ve had a temporary ileostomy due to colon cancer or another condition, you’ll probably have it surgically reversed at some point. But is there a preferred time frame for having an ileostomy reversal?
In general, there’s not. Theoretically, you could have a temporary ileostomy reversal several years after the original surgery occurred. However, according to a Feb. 2015 meta analysis, the sooner patients have reversal surgery, the better their functional outcome will be.
The study found that ileostomy closure within three months led to a better functional outcome for patients, in terms of fecal continence. Patients who wait longer than three months to have a reversal experience less continence. While there’s no clear evidence for why this occurs, researchers think reduced functional adaptability of the neorectum occurs following after a longer diversion.
However, reversal surgery isn’t always an option within a three-month period. Factors including health concerns and treatment plans may prevent a temporary ileostomy from being reversed within a 12 week period. When the reversal doesn’t take place relatively quickly, there’s a greater chance of fecal incontinence occurring and therefore the patient’s quality of life suffers.
If you’ve had a reversal and still experience struggles with fecal incontinence, an effective option is the Barnet Continent Intestinal Reservoir. The BCIR is a way to maintain fecal continence without having to wear a colostomy bag or maintain a J-Pouch.
During the surgery, a pouch will be made from your intestine where solid waste will collect. A stoma, or opening, will be created in your abdomen. Several times a day, you’ll use a thin tube called a catheter to empty the BRIR into a toilet. There’s no embarrassing leakage or discharge since the stoma is self sealing. And you’ll have complete control over when and where you empty the BCIR. It’s a great option for patients with active lifestyles who need to effectively manage fecal incontinence.