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Inflammatory Bowel Disease Health Center

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Continent ileostomy for ulcerative colitis

The surgeon removes the large intestine (colon) and creates a pouch and a valve from the lower end of the small intestine (the ileum). The surgeon then connects the valve to an opening (stoma) in the skin of the lower abdomen. After this surgery, you can insert a tube into the valve to release stool from the intestines.

What To Expect After Surgery

People usually spend 4 to 10 days in the hospital, depending on how sick they were before the surgery.

Why It Is Done

The surgery is done for people who have ulcerative colitis. Several circumstances may require surgery for ulcerative colitis.

People with ulcerative colitis may choose this surgery to prevent the risk of cancer.

How Well It Works

This surgery cures ulcerative colitis.


The main complications are incontinence of gas and stool and inflammation of the ileal pouch (pouchitis) that attaches to the opening in the abdomen.1

  • Up to 50% of people develop some fecal incontinence, usually in the first year after surgery. The risk is highest for obese older men who had a traditional ileostomy that was modified to a continent ileostomy.
  • About 30% of people develop inflammation of the ileal pouch (pouchitis), which usually can be treated with antibiotics.

What To Think About

It is important to learn how to use and care for an ostomy.

Bowel disease: Caring for your ostomy

About 1.5 million people in the United States have ostomies.

Complete the surgery information form (PDF)form.gif(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.


  1. Cima RR, Pemberton JH (2006). Ileostomy, colostomy, and pouches. In M Feldman et al., eds., Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, 8th ed., vol. 2, pp. 2549–2561. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.

Author Monica Rhodes
Editor Kathleen M. Ariss, MS
Associate Editor Pat Truman, MATC
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Arvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology
Last Updated November 3, 2008

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 03, 2008
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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