How Do You Recover From Colostomy Surgery?


Quick Answer

Patients recovering from colostomy surgery should expect to stay in the hospital for up to seven days, says Mayo Clinic. During this time, patients are under observation for complications, learn how to care for their incision site and ostomy bag, and gradually return to normal eating patterns.

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Full Answer

A colostomy, also called a stoma surgery, is a procedure in which one end of the large intestine is brought outside of the abdominal wall through a surgical opening, called a stoma, allowing stools to drain into a bag secured to the outside of the body, says MedlinePlus. The procedure is used to treat diseases and conditions affecting the colon or rectum, and in cases of abdominal injury. Colostomies may be permanent or temporary, depending on the patient's situation.

During the recovery period, colostomy patients are observed for complications, including internal bleeding, infection and blockages, says MedlinePlus. Other risks include the development of a hernia, scar tissue in the abdomen and prolapse of the stoma.

Patients may receive liquid nutrition through a vein in the arm, then transition to drinking clear liquids before graduating to solid foods, says Mayo Clinic. It may take a week for the intestines to regain normal functionality, and once the patient returns home, full recovery may take a couple more weeks.

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