Ileo-anal pouch formation

An operation to restore continence to the bowel, following removal of the colon and rectum.

What is an ileo-anal pouch?

An ileo-anal pouch is formed to allow the small bowel (ileum) to act in a similar way to the rectum (to store faeces).

This procedure is an alternative to a permanent ileostomy. The pouch is formed by folding the small bowel back on itself and creating a bag like structure. This is stitched together and attached to the anus.

Need to know

  • What happens during this procedure? icon plus

    The ileo-anal pouch can be formed over a one, two or three stage procedure. Your consultant will determine which operation is most appropriate for you.

    The first stage involves removing the whole colon, leaving the rectum in place and forming an ileostomy (where the small intestine is diverted through an opening in your tummy).
    The second stage is when the pouch is formed but to allow it to heal a temporary loop ileostomy is formed.

    The third stage and final operation is when the ileostomy is reversed and natural bowel function is restored via the pouch. It is commonly performed as keyhole surgery but can also be an open procedure (larger cut on the abdomen).
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will let you know how best to prepare for this type of surgery.
  • After the procedure icon plus

    After the operation you will have an intravenous drip, which is normally in place for 24 hours.

    A tube inserted to drain the bladder (catheter) is normally kept in place for two to three days.

    An abdominal drain (small tube passing through the abdominal wall) is often used, as is a small tube which is passed through the anus into the pouch. These are normally removed after a few days.

    You will need to remain in hospital for around a week, depending on your recovery rate. Once your bowels start to work again you may find that your bowel motion is very loose and more frequent in nature. This will recover over time.

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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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