What you should know
An ileostomy is an opening created to connect your ileum to the surface of your abdomen. Your ileum is the upper part of your intestine. The opening, called a stoma, will be connected to a pouch that collects bowel contents. Your ileostomy may be temporary or permanent.
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- Surgery may cause bleeding or damage to nearby organs. A fistula (abnormal tissue connection) may form between your intestines and another organ. Your intestines may stop working for a period of time after surgery. You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. This may become life-threatening.
- Your stoma or part of your intestines may become narrow or blocked. The stitches securing your ileostomy may come loose. Your stoma may slip back into your body, or come out too far on your abdomen. The rod holding your stoma in place may create a hole in your skin. You may get an infection in your intestines, reservoir pouch, urinary tract, or the skin around your stoma. The skin and intestine that forms your stoma may die. You could get a hernia (intestine that pushes through a weakened abdominal muscle wall). An ileostomy may increase your risk for dehydration.
- Without an ileostomy after colon surgery, bowel contents may leak into your abdomen and cause an infection. This may become life-threatening. If you are paralyzed, you may not be able to control your bowel movements.
Before your surgery:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
- Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
- You may meet with your healthcare provider or an ileostomy specialist to decide the best spot for the stoma. You will also learn how to care for your stoma after surgery.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about tests you may need before your surgery. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.
The night before your surgery:
- You may need an enema. This is liquid put into your rectum to help empty your bowel.
- Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
The day of your surgery:
- Ask your caregiver before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Caregivers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for surgery.
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
- Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
- An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
What will happen:
- Your healthcare provider will make an incision in your abdomen. He will separate your colon (lower part of your intestine) from your ileum and stitch your colon closed. He will bring the end of your ileum through the hole in your abdomen. Then he will fold it back and stitch it to the skin of your abdomen to create the stoma.
- Your healthcare provider will create a loop ileostomy if it will be temporary. He will bring a small section of your ileum through the hole in your abdomen. He will make an incision through one side of the ileum. Then he will fold it back and stitch it to the skin on your abdomen to create the stoma. He may also place a small rod near your stoma to secure it to your abdomen.
- Your healthcare provider may create a reservoir from a part of your ileum. It will be inside your body and will attach to the stoma on your abdomen. It will collect bowel contents and can be emptied with a tube as needed.
After your surgery:
You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room.
Contact a caregiver if
- You cannot make it to your surgery.
- You have a fever.
Seek Care Immediately if
- You are not able to have a bowel movement.
- You urinate less than normal or not at all.
- You vomit and cannot eat or drink.
- You have blood in your bowel movement, or you vomit blood.
- Your abdomen becomes painful and hard.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.