When a stoma is formed – loop or an end of healthy bowel is pulled up onto the surface of the abdomen to create an artificial opening where faeces can be passed out of the body, instead of through the anus (back passage).

This stoma may be either permanent – if there is no longer enough bowel left to make a continuous pathway from healthy bowel to anus – or temporary.

Temporary stomas are usually formed to allow the bowel to heal properly after it has been cut and reattached (anastomosis). This temporary stoma will usually be formed as a loop ileostomy (from the small bowel) or less commonly as a colostomy (from the large bowel).

What does the operation involve?

The closure of your stoma is ‘technically’ not as demanding as your previous surgery when the stoma was created. This operation involves making a cut around the stoma, to free it from the abdominal wall and stitching the bowel back together to restore continuity, the stitching may be referred to as an anastomosis.

The joined bowel is dropped back inside the abdominal cavity. This is followed by the stitching of the abdominal wall muscles and skin. It is still considered a significant operation.

Very occasionally it is necessary to reopen the original laparotomy wound scar to be able to reverse the stoma.