Question: Concerns about Rectal Discharge After Permanent Ostomy Surgery

I have undergone a permanent ostomy surgery where my anus and rectum were removed. I’ve heard from others that there’s a possibility of experiencing leakage post-surgery. Is this true? Can you provide clarity on whether leakage is a potential issue after such a procedure?

Response: Assessing the Likelihood of Rectal Discharge Post-Ostomy Surgery

The possibility of rectal discharge after ostomy surgery largely depends on the type of surgical procedure you have undergone. In cases of permanent colostomy where both the anus and rectum are removed, such as in an Abdomino Perineal Excision of Rectum (APeR), there typically should not be any discharge. In this procedure, the rectum and anus are completely removed, leaving a scar where the anus once was. After healing, there is no external bowel opening left, effectively eliminating the possibility of rectal discharge.

However, it’s important to note that other types of ostomy surgeries may leave parts of the rectum intact. For instance, in a Hartmann’s Procedure or the formation of a loop stoma, the rectum remains in place. Patients who undergo these types of surgeries might still pass some discharge through the anus. This discharge is usually mucus produced by the remaining part of the intestine and is a normal occurrence.

If you’re experiencing any unexpected symptoms or concerns post-surgery, it is crucial to consult with your healthcare provider or a specialized ostomy nurse. They can provide personalized advice and guidance based on your specific surgical procedure and overall health condition.

Remember, each ostomy surgery is unique, and the outcomes can vary based on individual circumstances and the specific surgical approach used. Regular follow-ups and open communication with your healthcare team are key to effectively managing your health post-surgery.

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay
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Author of “The Self-Coaching Toolbox”, “Better With A Bag Than In A Bag”, “Another BAG Another DAY”, “BAGs Around the World”, “Why Buttercup Wears a BAG!”, “The Sibs Gang Cave of the Golden Heart”,,
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