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Open Colostomy Reversal


Open colostomy reversal is done to reconnect your intestines and remove the stoma.


Call 911 if:

  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.
  • You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You may cough up blood.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have severe pain in your abdomen.
  • Your abdomen becomes swollen and hard.
  • Your vomit or bowel movements are black or have blood in them.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever of 101ºF (38.3ºC) or higher.
  • You are not able to have a bowel movement for 3 days.
  • You have nausea or are vomiting.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • Your wound is red, warm, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Surgical wound and bandage care:

Check your surgical wound for signs of infection daily. Signs of infection include redness, swelling, foul smell, pain, and pus. Change your bandage if it gets wet or dirty and as directed by your healthcare provider.


  • Use adult incontinent briefs. As your bowel function gets back to normal, you may have accidents. Your bowel movements may be more liquid.
  • You may need a barrier cream to keep your anus from getting irritated from wiping. Clean your anus with warm water after each bowel movement. Reapply barrier cream after cleaning. Avoid baby wipes and powder. These can cause more irritation.
  • Do not lift more than 10 pounds for 4 weeks or as directed. Do not bend or twist. This will help your surgery area heal and decrease your risk for a hernia.
  • Do not drive until your healthcare provider says it is okay.

Do not smoke:

Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause blood vessel damage. Blood vessel damage can keep your surgery from healing properly. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.

Nutrition after surgery:

  • Do not eat late at night. You may have bowel movements through the night. Your digestive system needs time to work properly.
  • Eat a variety of high-fiber foods to prevent constipation. High-fiber foods include cooked beans, fruits, vegetables, and some cereals. Ask your healthcare provider how much fiber you should have.
  • Avoid or limit foods that can irritate your digestive system. These foods include spicy and fatty foods, and citrus fruits, such as lemons and oranges. Also avoid foods that cause gas, such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. Beans, eggs, and fish may also cause gas. Limit alcohol and carbonated drinks, such as soda.
  • Drink liquids as directed to prevent constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise helps move bowel movements through your colon. It also helps prevent blood clots. Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you.

Follow up with your surgeon as directed:

You may need more tests to make sure your colon is healing properly. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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.

Further information

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