What Is It ?
As you know, you have a colostomy. This is an opening of the bowel. It drains waste out onto the skin, instead of down the normal way into the back passage. By now you have had tests which show that it is time to close off the colostomy. The waste will again run into the back passage.
You will have a general anaesthetic, and will be asleep for the whole operation. A cut is made around the colostomy to free the bowel from the skin and the body wall. The opening in the bowel is then joined up again inside the tummy, or sealed off, so that the waste will drain the normal way to the back passage. The wound where the colostomy once was, is then closed off. Sometimes the main wound in your tummy has to be reopened to join the bowel up properly.
The wound is stitched up again at the end of the operation. You should plan to leave hospital 7 days after the operation. If you have had the main wound reopened, plan for 10 days in hospital.
Complications are unusual but are rapidly recognised and dealt with by the nursing and surgical staff. If you think that all is not well, please ask the nurses or doctors. Chest infections may arise, particularly in smokers. Do not smoke. Occasionally the bowel is slow to start working again. This requires patience. Your food and water intake will continue through your vein tubing. Sometimes there is some discharge from the drain by the wound.
This stops given time. Wound infection is sometimes seen. This settles down with antibiotics in a week of two. Aches and twinges may be felt in the wound for up to 6 months. Occasionally there are numb patches in the skin around the wound which get better after 2 to 3 months. Very occasionally the bowel cannot be joined up again. This will be discussed with you. Sometimes there is a weakness where the colostomy has been closed. A rejoin operation may be needed later.
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