An ileostomy is often performed in the following conditions:
- Ulcerative colitis: It is ulcers and swelling in the large intestine and rectum/anus.
- Crohn’s disease: It is a severe inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal (GI; digestive) tract.
- Diverticular disease: It develops when pouches form along the digestive tract, typically in the colon (large intestine).
- Fecal incontinence: It is the inability to control bowel movements, causing feces (stool) to leak unexpectedly from the rectum. It is also called bowel incontinence.
- Cancer: An ileostomy is performed in patients with cancer of the large intestine.
- Trauma: It is any type of abdominal injury that may affect a patient’s bowel movement, especially in their large intestine.
- Familial adenomatous polyposis: It is a rare inherited cancer predisposition syndrome characterized by hundreds to thousands of precancerous colorectal polyps (adenomatous polyps). If left untreated, patients with familial adenomatous polyposis inevitably develop cancer of the colon and/or rectum at a relatively young age.
- Radiation damage: It is damage to the digestive tract due to radiation exposure.
- Congenital abnormalities: These are any abnormalities of the GI since birth that may be causing stool incontinence or obstruction, especially in the large intestine.
Permanent ileostomies are typically performed for ulcerative colitis or familial adenomatous polyposis.
A temporary end ileostomy is typically created during emergency conditions such as a severe infection or bleeding.
What is an ileostomy?
An ileostomy is a surgically created opening into the small intestine through the abdomen. The colon’s (large intestine) main purpose is to absorb water and store stool; however, the body may continue to function even without a colon. After an ileostomy, the stool is no longer eliminated through the anus but through the ileostomy. An ileostomy does not have a sphincter muscle, so there would be no voluntary control over bowel movements. Instead, the patient may need to wear a disposable pouch to collect the stool.
Before an ileostomy is formed, the doctor may decide the location of the stoma (artificial opening). It is usually somewhere on the right-hand side of the abdomen.
Different types of an ileostomy include:
- Loop ileostomy: The loop of the small intestine is pulled out through an incision (cut) in the abdomen and stitched to the skin to form a stoma.
- End ileostomy: In this, the ileum (final section of the small intestine) is separated from the colon (large intestine) and is brought out through the abdomen to form a stoma.
- Ileal pouch–anal anastomosis: Sometimes, the doctor creates an ileo-anal pouch (an internal pouch that's connected to the anus). This means there's no stoma, and stools are passed out of the back passage in a similar way to normal.
End ileostomies and ileo-anal pouches are usually permanent. Loop ileostomies are usually intended to be temporary and can be reversed during an operation later.
- The surgeon may use an open technique or a laparoscopic technique to perform an ileostomy.
- The surgeon usually performs it under general anesthesia. They may monitor the patient vitals throughout the procedure.
- In the open technique, the surgeon makes a cut in the abdomen to reach the intestine.
- In the laparoscopic technique, the surgeon makes small cuts in the abdomen. They insert an endoscope and tools through the cuts to perform the surgery.
- The open technique is used more commonly than the laparoscopic technique for an ileostomy.
- Depending on the reason for performing an ileostomy, the surgeon may perform a bowel resection first to completely remove the diseased or damaged part of the intestine.
- In an end ileostomy, the surgeon brings one end of the colon or ileum to an opening on the surface of the abdomen. They stitch the edges of the cut part of the colon or ileum to the skin of the abdomen to make the stoma. They close the other cut end of the colon or ileum with stitches or staples.
- In a loop ileostomy, the surgeon stitches the cut edges of the colon or ileum to the skin on the abdomen to make a stoma with two openings.
- The surgeon may place a tube in the abdomen to drain fluids. This helps prevent infection and allows the area to heal properly.
- The surgeon places an ostomy appliance (a special pouch) around the stoma. This pouch collects stool that passes out of the body through the stoma.
- In a laparoscopic procedure, the procedure time may be less than 90 minutes, and in an open procedure, the time may be more than 120 minutes, depending upon the patient’s condition and cause of the procedure.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Is the Purpose of an Ileostomy? Related Articles
What Is Crohn's Disease?Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease, primarily involving the small and large intestine, but which can affect other parts of the digestive system as well. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and weight loss are common symptoms.
Crohn's Disease QuizWhat causes Crohn's disease? What are the symptoms of Crohn's disease? How is Crohn's treated? Take this quiz to get the facts about Crohn's.
Crohn's Disease: Symptoms, Causes, DietWhat is Crohn's disease? Get more information on this digestive disorder and how Crohn's can affect your diet. Learn more about tests to diagnose Crohn's disease, as well as treatments for Crohn's.
Crohn's Disease vs. Ulcerative Colitis (UC)Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are diseases that cause inflammation of part of or the entire digestive tract (GI). Crohn's affects the entire GI tract (from the mouth to the anus), while ulcerative colitis or ulcerative colitis only affects the large and small intestine and ilium. Researchers do not know the exact cause of either disease. About 20% of people with Crohn's disease also have a family member with the disease. Researchers believe that certain factors may play a role in causing UC. Both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are a type of inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD.
Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis both have similar symptoms and signs, for example, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, episodic and/or persistent diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain and cramping, rectal bleeding, bloody stools, joint pain and soreness, eye redness, or pain. Symptoms unique to Crohn’s disease include anemia and skin changes. Symptoms of unique to ulcerative colitis include, certain rashes, an urgency to defecate (have a bowel movement). Doctors diagnose both diseases with similar tests and procedures. While there is no cure for either disease, doctors and other health care professionals can help you treat disease flares, and manage your Crohn's or ulcerative colitis with medication, diet, nutritional supplements, and/or surgery.
Is Crohn's Disease Contagious?Crohn's disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and is characterized by symptoms and signs that include diarrhea, fever, weight loss, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Though Crohn's disease is not contagious it can spread throughout a person's gastrointestinal tract. An increase in the above symptoms and signs warrants a visit to a doctor's office.
What Does a Crohn’s Disease Attack Feel Like?Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease featuring chronic inflammation of the inner of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Patients experience periods of symptomatic relapse and remission. What initiates the autoimmune reaction in Crohn’s disease is unclear, but genetic and environmental factors play roles. Crohn’s disease is a lifelong, progressive disease with no cure.