Hartmann's procedure


Hartmann's procedure treats various bowel conditions. Our colorectal surgeons have a wealth of knowledge in this area

What is a Hartmann's colostomy?

This procedure removes part of the sigmoid colon or the rectum - sometimes parts of both.

It can treat a number of bowel problems including cancer and diverticular disease (tiny pockets in the bowel lining). A Hartmann's procedure can also be carried out in an emergency, such as a bowel blockage, perforation or an abscess of the bowel.

Need to know

  • What happens during surgery? icon plus

    This major surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic. Your surgeon may carry out the operation as keyhole surgery (laparoscopically). If it's an emergency, it will be open surgery. A cut is made in your tummy and the diseased part of the colon is removed.

    A new path needs to be made so that waste can leave your body, so the end of the large bowel is used to form a new opening (stoma). This is then passed through the abdominal wall and attached to the skin, forming a colostomy. The rectum is closed off using stitches and placed back inside your body. This procedure can be reversed in the future.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    If the procedure in an emergency, there may not be time for preparation. However in most instances you will firstly be given medication to clear your bowel. Your consultant will explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you may have.

    As you'll be having general anaesthetic, they'll let you know how long you should avoid eating and drinking before surgery. Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.
  • After surgery icon plus

    You will wake up with a drip to keep you hydrated, and to replace body fluids. You’ll also have a catheter in your bladder to drain urine – this is usually removed within 1-2 days. Your bowels may be sluggish initially, but your stoma will start to make sounds after two or three days and you’ll have a bowel movement within five days.

    There will be a colostomy bag over your stoma. Depending on your recovery, you can expect to be home after five days. Your nurses will let you know how to take care of your stoma. Bowel continuity can usually be restored (reversal of stoma and the bowel joined back up) within 3-6 months.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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