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Open Colostomy Reversal


  • Open colostomy reversal is a surgery to close your colostomy and reconnect your colon (large intestine). A colostomy is part of your colon that is brought outside your body through a cut in your abdomen (belly). The colostomy forms a stoma (opening) for your bowel movements (BMs) to pass through. The stoma is secured to your skin, and your BMs collect in a pouch or bag. You may have needed a colostomy after an injury or colon surgery, when your colon was weak. After your colon has healed, your caregiver may perform this surgery to reconnect your colon.
    Colostomy Types
  • During open colostomy reversal, a large incision (cut) is made in your belly. The cut ends of your colon are reattached (sewn back together) and put back in your belly. Your BMs will begin to pass through your colon and out of your body through your anus again. Having your colostomy closed may allow you more freedom to do your normal daily activities. A colostomy reversal may help you feel more at-ease when out in public.



  • Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.
  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Maintain a healthy weight:

Weighing more than your caregiver suggests may increase your risk for problems after surgery. If you are overweight, ask your caregiver about healthy and safe ways to lose weight.

Stop smoking:

If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking harms your body in many ways. Smoking may increase your risk for problems after surgery. You are more likely to have heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and other health problems if you smoke. Quitting smoking will improve your health and the health of those around you. Ask your caregiver for more information about how to stop smoking if you are having trouble quitting.

Wound care:

Ask your caregiver for information about caring for your wounds after surgery. Follow your caregiver's instructions about changing your bandages and showering or bathing. Ask your caregiver if and when you need to return to have your stitches removed.


  • You are not able to have a BM.
  • You have nausea (upset stomach) or vomiting (throwing up).
  • You have a fever.
  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
  • Your wounds are draining pus (fluid) or look red or swollen. They may feel warm, painful, or tender (painful when touched).
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery, medicine, or care.


  • You have a high fever and increasing pain in your abdomen.
  • Your abdomen becomes very tender and hard.
  • Your vomit or BMs are black or have blood in them.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
  • You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.

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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.