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During your child's ostomy surgery, the bowel was separated and attached to an opening made in the skin of your child's belly. The opening is called a stoma. In a reversal surgery, your child's bowel is stitched back together. The stoma is also closed.
A stoma reversal is done after the original surgery has healed. This healing often takes at least 6 to 8 weeks. But sometimes it can take 12 months or longer. Stoma reversal can be done if there's enough healthy bowel left to be rejoined and the bowel is working
How the stoma reversal is done depends on what type of ostomy surgery your child had. One type of surgery involves making a large cut (incision). This way takes longer to heal. The other type uses smaller cuts and a small lighted tube called a scope. It doesn't take as long to heal.
It's common for children to have problems with how the bowel works after a stoma reversal surgery. Your child may have frequent bowel movements. Some children have symptoms such as constipation, loose stool, incontinence, sudden bowel urges, a skin rash, or pain. Other risks include infection in the belly and blockage in the bowel from scar tissue in the belly.
Symptoms usually get better over time. But some may remain over the long term.
Your child may need to take the same precautions as after the ostomy surgery. The doctor can tell you when it's okay for your child to return to activities and routines. This may take up to several weeks or months.
Your doctor may recommend things you can do at home to help improve how well your child's bowel works. You may be told to:
Keeping your child's bottom clean and dry can help prevent a rash. The doctor may suggest creams to help with a rash or soreness around the anus. You may also be told to give medicines for constipation or loose stool.
Dealing with a child's bowel problems can be hard. But your care team can help. You can talk with your doctor or nurse about these issues. They can help you find support and learn ways to cope.
Current as of: January 20, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Steven J. Atlas MD, MPH - Internal Medicine & Peter J. Kahrilas MD - Gastroenterology
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