What makes you a good candidate for colostomy reversal?

Most people who get a colostomy get it temporarily. That means they have to undergo another surgical procedure to get it reversed. Several factors can affect whether or not you can undergo a colostomy reversal procedure, though. You can discuss these details with your surgeon, who is essentially your partner in this decision.

What makes you a good candidate for colostomy reversal?

The number of temporary colostomies performed today is higher than ever, thanks to advanced treatment methods used. Still, a lot many people end up having this temporary ostomy for life. So, the first question you should ask yourself will be whether reversal is an option for you.

In many cases, the bowel needs to rest a bit to recover from any illness or impact of surgery. This type of colostomy is more common for conditions like diverticulitis, bowel obstruction, or injury. The surgery will reconnect the bowel once it heals.

The situation can be more complex in other cases. When your surgeon has to remove a part of your colon, they first have to see the amount and part of the colon to remove. Then, they analyze how much of the colon would remain after the operation. The most common reasons for this type of colostomy are inflammatory bowel disease and cancer.

Even after the underlying colon condition is resolved, you can get your colostomy reversed if you fulfill the following requirements.

  • Your body health allows you to undergo another surgical procedure.
  • You have enough of the colon and rectum left to support bowel movements.
  • The muscles of your bowel and sphincters are healthy enough to help you control bowel movements.

How soon to get the colostomy reversed

Although you cannot wait to get your colostomy reversed, you cannot rush it. Typically, you have to wait for 3-12 months after the colostomy. That allows your bowel to heal and get ready for another surgical procedure. While you can wait for more than 12 months to get your colostomy reversed, delaying this much can contribute to colon muscle weakening.

Bowel function after a colostomy reversal

You will be waiting impatiently to get regain your ability to move your bowels normally. You can regain this ability to the fullest if you underwent colostomy surgery to give your bowel some time to rest. However, your bowel may not regain the same function as before surgery if you had to get a part of your colon removed.

That is why having realistic expectations is crucial to regain and retain the quality of life after colostomy reversal. The best way is to discuss this condition with others who have had this surgery before. They will help you understand what to expect.

Risks and complications

While colostomy reversal can help you regain the ability to move your bowels normally, it is best to be aware of complications associated with this procedure. Some of those complications include the following.

  • Sometimes, the bowel joining fails to heal properly. That can lead to the leakage of feces into your abdomen. This condition is known as an Anastomotic leak.
  • Bowel blockage
  • Problem urinating
  • Temporary bowel paralysis
  • Unsuccessful reversal

You can discuss these complications with your doctor to know the extent of risk you face. The doctor will recommend reversal surgery based on your vulnerability to developing any of these complications and how could you go best for your ostomy care before this surgery.