There are two main ways you can have bowel surgery.
- In laparoscopic surgery, your surgeon will make small cuts in your abdomen. They do the operation by putting small instruments and a tube-like telescopic camera through these. Images from the camera are shown on a monitor so your surgeon can see what they are doing. People often recover more quickly from this type of surgery.
- In open surgery, your surgeon will make a single, large cut into your abdomen to reach your bowel.
Your surgeon will remove the diseased parts of your bowel and may join the two healthy ends together using stitches or staples. This is called an anastomosis.
It’s possible that your surgeon will bring the healthy ends of your bowel through your abdominal wall and onto the surface of your skin. This will make a stoma, which is an artificial opening on your abdomen. This is where waste products will leave your body if the end of your bowel has to be removed. You’ll need to wear a bag over your stoma to collect the waste from your bowel.
Having a stoma can have a big effect on you. If your surgeon thinks it’s likely you’ll need a stoma, they’ll arrange for you to see a specialist stoma nurse before your operation. They will give you information about living with a stoma and can help you decide on the best position for the opening.
A stoma can either be temporary or permanent, depending on the type of surgery you have and how much bowel your surgeon removes. The type of surgery you have will also determine the size and shape of your stoma, as well as where it is. The procedure is called a colostomy if it involves your large bowel and an ileostomy if it’s done from your small bowel.