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Surgery to form a stoma

A procedure to divert the small intestine through an opening in your abdomen


An ileostomy stops waste passing through the entire digestive system. It's reasonably common and can help the small intestine or colon heal after surgery, such as during bowel cancer treatment. It may relieve inflammation caused by Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, or enable rectal or anal surgery.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    An ileostomy is a procedure to form a stoma from the small intestine. It's usually carried out under a general anaesthetic so you'll be asleep. Loop stomas bring a loop of bowel to the surface, which is held in place with stitches. Usually temporary, this forms a double opening, although only the upper part produces waste. End stomas usually involve the removal of the whole colon through a cut in your abdomen. The end of the small intestine is brought to the surface. This is usually permanent. Ileo-anal pouches are sometimes possible. Created from the ileum, they're joined to the anus, so waste material passes out of your body in the normal way.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will explain the procedure to you beforehand and answer any questions you may have. If you're having a general anaesthetic, they'll also advise how long to avoid eating and drinking prior to your operation. It's possible, especially if you're having a temporary stoma, that your ileostomy may be carried out at the same time as another operation, for example to remove part of your bowel. You'll be advised how to prepare for your specific procedure beforehand.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    A special bag will be fitted on the stoma to collect digestive waste. You can expect to stay in hospital for up to five to seven days after an ileostomy operation. During this time, a specialist nurse will teach you how to look after your stoma. It can be difficult learning to adjust to living with a stoma. However, you will probably find, like most people with stomas, that you adapt into a new routine. And there is a lot of support available. Overall though, your quality of life may improve significantly, especially if you've had a bowel disease, chronic constipation or bowel incontinence.
Consultant with patient

Our consultants

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • facility-pgh-hero-579x579

    The Princess Grace Hospital

    42-52 Nottingham Place

    London W1U 5NY

    Appointments 020 3131 7216
    Enquiries 020 3130 6833

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street


    SE1 2PR

    Appointments and Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773
    Switchboard 020 7407 3100

  • The Lister Hospital Facility

    The Lister Hospital

    Chelsea Bridge Road


    SW1W 8RH

    Appointments 020 7811 4000
    Enquiries 020 3131 4978

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

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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