Reasons for Procedure
- Colorectal cancer
- Diverticular disease —small pouches form in the wall of the colon
- Inflammatory intestinal diseases (eg, colitis , Crohn’s disease )
- Intestinal blockage
- Trauma to the intestine
- Precancerous polyps, especially those seen in familial polyposis
- A hole in the bowel wall or dead piece of bowel
- Bleeding from the colon
- Damage to other organs or structures
- Hernia forming at the incision site
- Blood clots
- Complications from general anesthesia
- Intestinal obstruction due to development of scar tissue
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Physical exam
- Blood tests
- Ultrasound exam of the abdomen—a test that uses sound waves to visualize the inside of the abdomen
- X-ray exam of the abdomen, after swallowing a barium drink and/or receiving a barium enema
- CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of the inside of the body
- MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of the inside of the body
- Colonoscopy with biopsy samples—visual exam and removal of tissue inside of the large intestine with a flexible tube that is attached to a light and a viewing device
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
- Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs
- Blood thinners, such as clopidogrel (Plavix) or warfarin (Coumadin)
- Drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of fluid daily.
- Your doctor may give you a special diet for several days before surgery.
- Wear comfortable clothing.
- Your colon must be completely cleaned out before the procedure. A number of cleansing methods may be used. This may include enemas, laxatives, and a clear-liquid diet. You may be asked to drink a large container of solution. It will aid in the complete emptying of the colon. This preparation may start several days before the procedure.
- Your doctor may give you antibiotics. It is important to take them.
- You will usually be asked to stay on clear liquids after the bowel is cleaned out. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight before your procedure.
- You may need to shower the night before your procedure using antibacterial soap.
- Arrange for a ride to and from the hospital.
- Arrange for help at home for the first days after your procedure.
Description of Procedure
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- You may need antibiotics. You may also need medicine for nausea and pain.
- You may require a nasogastric (NG) tube for a few days. The tube enters through your nose and goes to your stomach. It is used to help decompress your bowel.
- Your intestine will require some time to heal before it will function properly again. At first, you will get nutrition through an IV (needle in your hand). As you improve, you will be slowly advanced through liquid and soft diets to a regular diet.
- If you had a colostomy or ileostomy, a pouch will be attached on the outside of your body. Waste material will be collected in it. You will receive instructions about diet and activity. During the first few days after surgery, you may be restricted from eating.
- You will wear boots or special socks to help prevent blood clots.
- You will be asked to walk often after surgery.
- You may be asked to use an incentive spirometer, to breathe deeply, and to cough frequently. This will improve lung function.
- Your incision will be examined often for signs of infection.
- You will need to take it easy for 1-2 months.
- A specialized nurse will teach you how to care for the stoma site and change the ostomy bag .
- Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
- You will progress from a clear liquid, to a bland, low-fiber diet, to your regular diet after about 6-8 weeks.
- Alert your physicians and pharmacist that you cannot take medicines that are considered time-released or time-sustained.
- Do not use laxatives, because postcolostomy stools are usually quite liquid.
- Drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of liquid daily as extra fluids will be lost in your stool.
- You will need to practice good skin care of the area around the stoma. This will help to prevent inflammation and infection.
- You may wish to join a support group or seek counseling to help you adjust to your colostomy.
Call Your Doctor
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, warmth, drainage, or bulging at the incision site
- Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medicines you were given after surgery, or which persist for more than two days after discharge from the hospital
- Severe abdominal pain
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Pain and/or swelling in your feet, calves, or legs
- Pain, burning, urgency, frequency of urination, or persistent bleeding in the urine
- Blood in your stool or black, tarry stools
- Feeling weak or dizzy
If you had a colostomy created:
- Not collecting stool in the ostomy pouch
- The skin around the stoma appears irritated, moist, red, swollen, or develops sores
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org/
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) http://www.niddk.nih.gov/
Canadian Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons http://www.colon-rectalsurgery.org/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/
American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at: http://www.gastro.org/wmspage.cfm?parm1=2 .
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ .
- Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD
- Review Date: 11/2012 -
- Update Date: 11/26/2012 -