Total colectomy or proctocolectomy - discharge
You had surgery to remove your large intestine. Your anus and rectum also may have been removed. You also may have had an ileostomy.
This article describes what to expect after surgery and how to take care of yourself at home.
End ileostomy - colectomy or proctolectomy - discharge; Continent ileostomy - discharge; Ostomy - colectomy or proctolectomy - discharge; Restorative proctocolectomy - discharge; Ileal-anal resection - discharge; Ileal-anal pouch - discharge; J-pouch - discharge; S-pouch - discharge; Pelvic pouch - discharge; Ileal-anal anastomosis - discharge; Ileal-anal pouch - discharge; Ileal pouch - anal anastomosis - discharge; IPAA - discharge; Ileal-anal reservoir surgery - discharge
When You're in the Hospital
During and after surgery, you received intravenous (IV) fluids. You also may have had a tube placed through your nose and into your stomach. You may have received antibiotics.
What to Expect at Home
Follow your health care provider's instructions for how to take care of yourself at home.
If your rectum or anus remains, you may still have the feeling that you need to move your bowels. You may also leak stool or mucus during the first few weeks.
If your rectum has been removed, you may feel the stitches in this area. It may feel tender when you sit.
You will probably have pain when you cough, sneeze, and make sudden movements. This may last for several weeks but will improve over time.
Your doctor will give you pain medicines to take at home.
Ask your doctor when you should begin taking your regular medicines again after surgery.
If your staples have been removed, you will probably have small pieces of tape placed across your incision. These pieces of tape will fall off on their own. If your incision was closed with dissolving sutures, you may have glue covering the incision. This glue will loosen and come off on its own. Or, it can be peeled off after a few weeks.
Ask your provider when you can shower or soak in a bathtub.
If you have a dressing, your provider will tell you how often to change it and when you can stop using it.
DO NOT wear tight clothing that rubs against your wound while it is healing. Use a thin gauze pad over it to protect it if needed.
If you have an ileostomy, follow care instructions from your provider.
Eat small amounts of food several times a day. DO NOT eat 3 big meals. You should:
Some foods may cause gas, loose stools, or constipation as you recover. Avoid foods that cause problems.
If you become sick to your stomach or have diarrhea, call your doctor.
Ask your provider how much fluid you should drink each day to prevent getting dehydrated.
Returning to Work
Return to work only when you feel ready. These tips may help:
When to Call the Doctor
Call your provider if you have any of the following:
Mahmoud NN, Bleier JIS, Aarons CB, Paulson EC, Shanmugen S, Fry RD. Colon and rectum. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery: The Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 51.
Smith SF, Duell DJ, Martin BC, Gonzalez L, Aebersold M. Perioperative care. In: Smith SF, Duell DJ, Martin BC, Gonzalez L, Aebersold M, eds. Clinical Nursing Skills: Basic to Advanced Skills. 9th ed. New York, NY: Pearson; 2016:chap 26.
Review Date: 9/3/2018
Reviewed By: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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