Thursday, July 26, 2007


After an entire colectomy, the large intestine and rectum are removed. About a decade ago, it was necessary to divert a piece of small intestine to an artificial opening on the abdominal wall as the exit for the output. I’ve seen patients with this operation in China. The quality of life is significantly sacrificed after the operation. I always wondered if there is another way to make the exit. This week, I saw such an operation that makes a J-pouch to give a normal life to patients.

The operation was done laparoscopicly. The first part was as usual. Small holes were drilled on the abdominal wall and a 7cm incision was also made below the belly button. Large intestine and rectum were removed and taken out from the incision. However, the control muscle was kept, and this is the key point of the surgery.

After the removal of colon and rectum, the ileum was folded to form a reservoir. Later on, the bottom of the reservoir was connected to the control muscle. Sometimes, the second step requires two separate operations. After the reservoir is made, a temporary exit on abdomen is made so that the newly created reservoir isn’t in use immediately and may heal. 2 or 3 months after the first surgery, another operation closes the exit on abdomen.

The benefit of making a J-pouch is significant. The reservoir may store the waste until the need to have a bowel movement. The patient may have a pretty good control as normal people. It doesn’t need an external bag to store. Overall, the quality of life is enhanced.


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Georgy Girl said...

You are definitely right about the enhanced quality of life--I was born with a deformed colon, and have undergone numerous surgeries (including a temporary ileostomy)to fix the problem. I now have a J-pouch, and it has allowed me to function as a normal person.