Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Department of Colorectal Surgery

Colorectal Surgery

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Ileostomy closure

Ileostomy closure is when an ileostomy that has been created to divert the flow of bowel content or stool from the bowel downstream is joined to the bowel downstream. The ileostomy is an opening made onto and through the abdominal wall where the small bowel is brought through, and bowel contents or stool pass through and are collected into a plastic bag or device that is emptied at regular intervals as necessary. The word ileostomy is made from two words, Ileum, from the Greek word "elios" meaning twisted, and the Greek word "stoma" meaning mouth.

An ileostomy may have one or two ends of bowel brought out at the stoma site. If the ileostomy is just one end it is called an end ileostomy. If there are two ends, it may be called a loop or an end-loop (also known in Australia as an Abcarian) ileostomy, depending on how they are constructed.

The most common ileostomy is a loop ileostomy which is commonly made to divert stool or faeces away from the downstream bowel, usually after a rectal resection, while we wait for wound healing of the downstream bowel. In the case of a loop ileostomy a small incision is usually made around the ileostomy and the two ends of the small bowel are joined together (anastomosed) with stitches or stapling devices. In the case of an end ileostomy a separate incision to the ileostomy is usually required to access the downstream bowel and join the two ends together.

Ileostomy closure can carry risks associated with wounds (wound infection, hernia), the bowel join (leakage, bleeding), and to the patient's heart (arrhythmia), lungs (infection), kidneys and urinary system and the venous system (deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary emboli).

It is best to discuss any more detail with your doctor and stomal therapist.