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Reversal of Hartmann's procedure

Reversal of Hartmann's procedure should allow your to be able to open your bowels in the normal way, which means you should no longer have a stoma bag.

A Hartmann’s procedure can help with colon problems.

What is Hartmann's procedure?

Hartmann’s procedure involves removing a piece of large bowel (colon). It is usually performed as an emergency. The two ends of bowel were not joined together because your surgeon decided the risks were too high. Your surgeon made a colostomy (your large bowel opening onto your skin). The other end was closed as a rectal stump. Your surgeon has decided it is safe to join the two ends of your bowel back together.

What are the benefits of the surgery?

This type of procedure should be able to open your bowels in the normal way, which means you should no longer have a stoma bag.

What does the procedure involve?

The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes about 90 minutes to 3 hours. Your surgeon will free up the end of your bowel inside your abdomen and the end used to make the colostomy. Your surgeon will join the two ends back together and place your bowel inside your abdominal cavity.

What complications can happen?

Like all surgical procedures, there are some complications that can be serious and can even cause death. Please bear in mind the general and specific complications regarding this type of operation.

General complications of any operation

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

Specific complications of this operation

Keyhole surgery complications

  • Damage to structures such as your bowel, bladder or blood vessels
  • Developing a hernia
  • Surgical emphysema

Reversal of Hartmann's complications

  • Anastomotic leak
  • Continued bowel paralysis
  • Diarrhoea
  • Damage to other structures inside your abdomen
  • Tissues can join together in an abnormal way
  • Death. The risk is less the fitter you are

How soon will I recover?

It is usual for your bowel to stop working for a few days, and will be able to go home after 5 to 10 days.  However, it can take up to 3 months to return to normal activities.

Regular 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 after having this procedure.


Reversal of Hartmann’s procedure will allow you to open your bowels in the normal way. You will no longer need a stoma bag. To find out more, call us on 0808 101 0337.


Author: Mr Jonathan Lund DM FRCS (Gen. Surg.)

Illustrator: Medical Illustration Copyright ©

Specialists offering Reversal of Hartmann's procedure

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Mr Nasir Iqbal

Consultant General and Colorectal Surgeon

MBBS MRCSI, Dip MIS (France) FRCS( General & Colorectal Surgery)

The Highfield Hospital 1 more The Beaumont Hospital

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Mr Christopher Gatzen

Consultant Laparoscopic General and Colorectal Surgeon


The Chiltern Hospital 1 more The Shelburne Hospital

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Mr Emad Elseedawy

Consultant General & Breast Surgeon


Kings Park Hospital 1 more Albyn Hospital

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Mr Tas Qureshi

Consultant Surgeon

MBBS, FRCS (Eng), FRCS (Gen Surg)

The Harbour Hospital

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Mr Steven James Arnold

Consultant Colorectal and General Surgeon


The Hampshire Clinic

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Professor Humphrey Scott

Consultant General & Colorectal Surgeon


The Runnymede Hospital

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