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Closure of loop ileostomy surgery

Reversal of a loop ileostomy so that you can open your bowels in the usual way

Woman holding abdomen in pain needs closure of loop ileostomy surgery
An ileostomy is a type of surgery where the end of your small bowel (also known as your small intestine) is brought through an opening made into your tummy. This opening is called a stoma and you will have a bag or pouch that covers the end of your intestine.

Having an ileostomy means that you won't poo from your bottom any more, but instead your faeces will come out of the stoma into the bag.

A loop ileostomy is when the procedure is designed to be temporary and is done in a way that means your small bowel can be repaired and you will be able to poo normally again. This is done in a procedure called a closure of loop ileostomy.

If you have a loop colostomy that is ready to be closed, call or book online today to arrange a consultation to discuss a private closure of loop with a consultant of your choice at Circle Health Group.

Why might I need a loop ileostomy?

Loop ileostomy is typically used when you have had or are having surgery on a section of your colon, or when you have a disease or injury in your colon, and it is necessary to stop using that section while it heals and recovers. For example, if you have part of your large bowel (large intestine) removed, the two remaining ends will be joined together surgically. Your surgeon might create a temporary loop ileostomy so that these newly joined ends have time to heal before they are required to process waste again.

What are the benefits of closure of loop ileostomy?

The main benefit of closure of loop ileostomy is that you will be able to open your bowels in the normal way and will not have to use a stoma bag.

Your treatment journey with Circle Health Group will usually begin with an initial consultation with your chosen specialist. This is where they start to get to know you, and as well as taking a detailed medical history they will want to know about your personal circumstances and why you want to have surgery, as well as the outcomes you are hoping for. They will need to know everything about any previous treatment you have had including why you had the ileostomy.

You might have a short physical examination and they may send you for scans or tests to check you are fit and healthy enough for surgery, that your digestive system has healed enough for the loop closure, and to assess how your colon is working. These might include X-rays, CT scans, blood tests and more. You won't be able to have the closure until they are satisfied that you've recovered properly and swelling has gone down, which is typically at least 12 weeks after the ileostomy procedure but can be much later. In some cases reversal is done more than 12 months after the original surgery.

Once your consultant has the results of these tests and has made their diagnosis, they will be able to talk you through the available treatment options, including ileostomy closure of loop if appropriate. Together, you'll make a decision on what's best in your individual circumstances.

An operation to close a loop ileostomy is typically performed under general anaesthetic and takes around an hour. It is a relatively simple operation with a high success rate.

Your surgeon will begin by making a cut into your skin around the ileostomy. They will free up the 'loop' of small bowel that was used to create the stoma and joint the two ends back together. The reconnected portion of bowel will be placed back inside your abdominal cavity.

The incision is then closed using either surgical staples or stitches.

You should be able to go home after one to three days in hospital, and you should feel strong enough to return to normal activities within a few weeks of going home. Additionally, exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Most people make a good recovery and are able to return to emptying their bowels as usual.

Like all surgical procedures, ileostomy closure of loop carries certain risks. Your consultant surgeon will talk you through all of these in detail ahead of time so that you can make an informed decision. They should be able to put your mind at ease about any worries you are having.

General complications of any operation include:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Developing a hernia in the scar
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Unsightly scarring of your skin
  • Chest infection
  • Blood clots

Specific complications of this operation

  • Anastomotic leak
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Continued bowel paralysis
  • Diarrhoea
  • Developing an abnormal connection (fistula) between your bowel and your skin

At Circle Health Group, we have the experience and expertise to ensure the best possible care and outcome for our patients. As a patient with Circle Health Group, you can expect the highest standards of care including:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations that are convenient for you
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard
  • A range of delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to see a consultant to learn more about ileostomy reversal, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in May 2023. Next review due May 2026.

  1. Ileostomy, NHS
  2. Closure of loop ileostomy, Health Direct
  3. Loop ileostomy. Techniques and indications, PubMed
  4. Stoma reversal, Colostomy UK

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