Having Bowel Surgery: Proctocolectomy with Permanent Ileostomy

This surgery is done to treat diseases of the digestive tract. It removes all of the large intestine. When healed, waste passes from the small intestine through a stoma in the wall of the abdomen and into a pouch outside of the body.

Preparing for Surgery

Preparation may begin a few weeks before surgery and can include the following:

  • If you smoke, try to quit.

  • Tell your doctor about any medications (including aspirin, NSAIDs, and anticoagulants), herbs, or supplements you take. Ask whether you should stop any of them before surgery.

  • If you will have a stoma, a specially trained health care provider called an enterostomal therapy (ET) nurse will meet with you. The 2 of you will decide on the stoma’s placement.

  • If instructed, stop eating solid food a day or 2 before surgery. Switch to a diet of clear liquids, such as broth.

  • You will receive instructions for bowel prep, which helps ensure that your digestive tract is ready for surgery.

  • Don’t eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery. This includes water, gum, and breath mints.

  • If your doctor tells you to take medication the morning of surgery, swallow it with only small sips of water.

Stoma is formed to pass waste.

Entire colon and rectum are removed.

The Procedure

  • The entire colon and rectum are removed. The anus is also removed.

  • The doctor then forms a stoma (the small intestine is sewn to an opening in the abdominal wall to let waste leave the body).

Risks and Complications

Bowel surgery has certain risks and possible complications. Your health care provider can discuss them with you. They may include:

  • Infection

  • Injury to nearby organs

  • Blood clots

  • Risks related to anesthesia