What Is Life Like After Colostomy Reversal Surgery?

What life is like after colostomy reversal surgery depends on whether a surgeon removes a portion of a patient's bowel during the colostomy, and how much and what portion a surgeon removes, according to Healthgrades; these factors affect a patient's return to full bowel function. Other factors can impact the quality of life after colostomy reversal surgery, such as bowel paralysis or blockage, sexual dysfunction and urination problems, a reversal that is not successful and an improperly healing bowel reconnection.

When a surgeon reconnects the bowel, but it does not heal correctly, it can allow feces to leak into the abdomen, which is an anastomotic leak, explains Healthgrades. Colostomy reversal surgery for some patients can be a simple procedure, resulting in a near-complete return to normal bowel function. Other patients may have a better quality of life by not undergoing reversal surgery. Patients can expect to experience incontinence, or stool leakage, if their anal sphincters and bowels are not able to control stool normally.

Patients who undergo temporary colostomies to allow their bowels to rest and heal typically enjoy their quality of life after reversal surgeries, notes Healthgrades. Surgeons perform temporary colostomies for bowel obstructions, colon injuries or diverticultis and reconnect the bowels to the rectums after healing is complete. Most colostomies are permanent and involve removing part of the colon, as when treating inflammatory bowel disease and cancer.