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Ileostomy Creation

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 31, 2022.

What do I need to know about ileostomy creation?

An ileostomy is an opening made on the surface of your abdomen. The lower part of your small intestine is the ileum. It is brought through the opening in your abdomen. A stoma (opening) is made from your ileum to allow you to have bowel movements. Your ileostomy may be temporary or permanent. An ileostomy is done to treat intestinal conditions such as Crohn disease, ulcerative colitis, and colorectal cancer.

How do I prepare for ileostomy creation?

  • The weeks before surgery, your healthcare provider will make a plan on where your stoma will be placed. He or she may have you meet with an ostomy specialist to tell you what to expect after surgery. Your healthcare provider may have stop certain medicines weeks before your surgery. Examples include blood thinners and NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen. These medicines can cause you to bleed more than expected during surgery.
  • The day before surgery, your healthcare provider will tell you what time of day to switch to clear liquids only. This is the first step in preparing your intestines for surgery.
  • The night before surgery, your healthcare provider may tell you to take laxatives or an enema to clean out your bowels. He or she will tell you not to eat or drink for 12 hours before your surgery.
  • The morning of your surgery, your healthcare provider will tell you what medicines are okay to take. An IV with fluids and antibiotics will be started.

What will happen during surgery?

General anesthesia will be given to keep you asleep and pain-free during your surgery. There are different ways of doing the surgery. The best way for you may depend on if your ileostomy will be temporary or permanent. Your healthcare provider may do any of the following:

  • For a conventional ileostomy, your healthcare provider will make an incision in your abdomen. He or she will separate your colon (lower part of your intestine) from your ileum and stitch your colon closed. He or she will bring the end of your ileum through the hole in your abdomen. Then he or she will fold it back and stitch it to the skin of your abdomen to create the stoma.
    Conventional Ileostomy
  • A loop ileostomy will be created if it will be temporary. Your healthcare provider will bring a small section of your ileum through the hole in your abdomen. He or she will make an incision through one side of the ileum. Then he or she will fold it back and stitch it to the skin on your abdomen to create the stoma. He or she may also place a small rod near your stoma to secure it to your abdomen. The rod will be left in place until your stoma heals. Then it will be removed.
    Loop Ileostomy
  • For a continent ileostomy, your healthcare provider will 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.
    Continent Ileostomy

What will happen after ileostomy creation?

You will stay in the hospital. You will have to walk several times per day while in the hospital. You will be taught how to take care of your ileostomy.

What are the risks of an ileostomy?

  • 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.
  • Damage may be done to your ileum. Bowel contents may leak into your abdomen and cause an infection. This may become life-threatening.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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