Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Crohn's Disease Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Proctocolectomy and Ileostomy for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

In proctocolectomy, the large intestine and rectum camera.gif are removed, leaving the lower end of the small intestine (the ileum). The doctor sews the anus closed and makes a small opening called a stoma in the skin of the lower abdomen. The surgical procedure to create the stoma (or any other artificial opening) is called an ostomy.

The ileum is connected to the stoma, creating an opening to the outside of the body. The surgery that creates the opening to the intestine is called an ileostomy.

Recommended Related to Crohn's Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The term inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) describes a group of disorders in which the intestines become inflamed. The likeliest cause is an immune reaction the body has against its own intestinal tissue. Two major types of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon or large intestine. Crohn's disease, on the other hand, can involve any part of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus. Most commonly, though, it affects the small intestine...

Read the Inflammatory Bowel Disease article > >

Stool empties into a small plastic pouch called an ostomy bag that is applied to the skin around the stoma.

What To Expect After Surgery

You may stay in the hospital for several days or as long as 2 weeks after surgery, depending on the severity of the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Why It Is Done

Several situations may require surgery for ulcerative colitis or surgery for Crohn's disease, such as when medicines fail to manage your symptoms or when holes develop in the large intestine.

How Well It Works

This surgery cures ulcerative colitis. About 7 to 8 out of 10 people have long-term success with this surgery.1

Surgery will not cure Crohn's disease. But it may give people some time without symptoms. Crohn's disease usually comes back after surgery.

Risks

The main complications of ileostomy involve infection and problems with the opening to the abdomen (stoma). The following complications may occur:2

  • Up to 30 out of 100 people develop infection.
  • Small bowel obstruction occurs in 15 out of 100 people.
  • A problem with the stoma develops in up to 30 out of 100 people.
  • About 20 to 25 out of 100 people need another surgery to repair the stoma.

What To Think About

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

actionset.gif Bowel Disease: Caring for Your Ostomy

About 1.5 million people in the United States have ostomies.

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

Citations

  1. Cohen JL, et al. (2005). Practice parameters for the surgical treatment of ulcerative colitis. Diseases of the Colon and Rectum, 48(11): 1997–2009. Available online: http://www.fascrs.org/physicians/practice_parameters.

  2. Cima RR, Pemberton JH (2010). Ileostomy, colostomy, and pouches. In M Feldman et al., eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, 9th ed., vol. 2, pp. 2015–2025. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Peter J. Kahrilas, MD - Gastroenterology
Last Revised October 8, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 08, 2012
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.

Today on WebMD

ibd overview
Slideshow
clams
Quiz
 
treatment for crohns slideshow
Slideshow
Living With Crohns Slideshow
Slideshow
 

Treatment Options For Crohns Disease
Article
Biologic Drugs Can Put Crohns In Remission
Video
 
crohns disease healthcheck
Tool
Crohns Symptoms
Quiz
 

Trigger Foods To Avoid With Crohns
Article
Exercising When You Have A GI Disorder
Article
 
Newly Diagnosed With Crohns Steps To Take
Article
When Surgery Might Be Required For Crohns
Article