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Recovery from total colectomy
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Recovery from total colectomy

I am scheduled to have an open total colectomy. Does anyone have insight as to whether I will be in ICU after surgery or will I be in a regular room? Also, will I have ANY control of my bowels in the first month following surgery? I am wondering what to prepare for upon returning home from the hospital. Thank you!
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Avatar_m_tn

Hi - I underwent a total colectomy nearly five years ago for torrential diverticular bleeding.  In response to another Medhelp patient I described my experiences in a posting which you can retrieve and study by logging on to:-

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/show/523166

As far as I can remember, after the operation I was moved to a recovery room for about an hour and then back to my hospital bedroom.  Of course if your operation has encountered any problems then your surgeon may decide to place you for a spell in ICU.  For the first few days I was incontinent because the epidural pain relief meant that I had no feelings in my bowels and the various fluids just "leaked out".  Your "middle area" should be enclosed in nappies to catch the escaping bowel fluids and the hospital nurses would normally "clean up" attend to this.  After the epidural pain relief is discontinued (~4-5 days) feeling should return to your lower torso and you will be encouraged to make your own way to the toilet.  See my posting for my experience regarding the number of toilet visits in the early stages after the operation.

Lastly I suggest that you may want to print off this reply and the posting I mentioned above to show to your surgeon in order to ask him/her whether he/she would expect your own experiences to mirror mine.

This is a big operation and it will take you some weeks to recover partially and a few months to recover fully.  By this I mean:-

- if all goes routinely in hospital, discharge after 6-7 days
- then one week at home partially in bed/partially resting/no exertion-lifting etc
- then 2-4 weeks taking it very easy - very light exertion/no lifting
- then gradually back to normal
- I didn't go back on the tennis court for 3-4 months.
-

Do come back with any further questions you may have

Good luck
Morecambe
  
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Avatar_n_tn
I actually had a complete colectomy March 2008. I needed to have this done due to a large distended colon which kept obstructing through out form Dec to Feb. For me this was a big operation. I was in surgery for over 4 hours. I did return to a private room on a GI surgical unit. For the first week after surgery I had a hard controlling my bowels. I needed to use adult pullups and had my family bring these in for me. This was a difficult thing for me, but it did get better after 1 week. I ended up staying in the hospital  for 2 weeks because my intestines didn't want to wake up very well. I had to have nutrition through my veins due to not being able to eat until the intestines started working. I had a weight loss of over 20 lbs. Now it is September and I'm doing pretty well, but I'm now having problems with my small bowel so I'm needing surgery again in a month. I do not regret having my colon removed because I am feeling much better with it out than when it was there. It took me a good 6-7 weeks to feel pretty good. I went back to work full time after 8 weeks. Now my bowels are working well, but be prepared to have frequent bowel movements for the first month or so. It will get better. They say after having a major bowel surgery it takes 1-2 years to fully recover and I believe that. I hope you do well and wish you well with your surgery and recovery. I know when I had my surgery I wish I could of talked to someone going through what I was going through because I felt alone. Take care. Tammy127
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Avatar_m_tn
I had a total colectomy on May 8,2008---I went back to work full time on July 8----For the last month or so--I have felt uncomfortable and pulling around colostomy appliance----I have treated witjh antifungal topical-----Is it standard to feel soreness for many months after the surgery?
   Thanks for your response,MG
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