NetWellness is a global, community service providing quality, unbiased health information from our partner university faculty. NetWellness is commercial-free and does not accept advertising.
Sunday, February 7, 2016
My father recently had a colonoscopy that discovered a cancerous growth. He’s been scheduled for surgery in a couple of weeks. The surgeon said that he will likely have a colostomy for a few weeks, but that it will probably be reversible. I wasn’t at the appointment so I couldn’t ask the doctor about this. Could you either point me to some resources or explain how a colostomy can be reversed? I thought it was permanent.
A stoma (whether small bowel - ileostomy; large bowel - colostomy) or other, can be permanent or temporary. A temporary stoma for 8-12 weeks is usually for rectal cancer. This permits the surgeon to do a joining (anastomosis) in the bowel after removing the diseased segment, but divert stool away, by bringing a loop of bowel up to skin as a temporary stoma. This is usually an ileostomy, not a colostomy, however. The Crohns and Colitis Foundation website has good resources for this.
Conor P Delaney, MD, PhD
Professor of Surgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University