Permanent Ileostomy v JPouch Surgery Q&A – What I asked my surgeon to help me decide.

When faced with making the decision of surgery to make my temporary Ileostomy Stoma permanent(*) or going for JPouch(**) surgery I had hundreds of questions... many I managed to satisfy chatting with friends and loved ones, such as, how will I manage my family whilst in recovery from any future surgery? to how long will be off work? when can I drive etc?...

However, there was a long list I presented my surgeon at the time, Dr Clark at Brighton and Sussex University Hospital, many of which he couldn't answer as the outcomes are as individual as the disease for each patient. I kept the list and wanted to share it with you all now, I will also add the answers, where I can, from my experience.

I hope this helps others when facing the same life changing dilemma as I know first-hand how traumatic it is!

*Permanent Ileostomy surgery, for me, would entail removal of the remaining rectum, the canal left after sub-total colectomy and temporary ileostomy stoma creation which was stitched to the wall of my abdomen to maintain blood flow to preserve the canal for future surgery options.

**JPouch surgery very basically would involve taking the Ileostomy back inside and dropping it into the bowel cavity area where it can be made into a reservoir (a replacement colon) and connected at the bottom to part of the remaining rectal cuff, thus reconnecting me but without the actual rectum to control output. (I will add a separate blog with the technical stuff)


· Knowing my disease has predominately been rectal/proctitis will that effect the outcome of a JPouch?

My JPouch is fantastic, however from approx. 2 months after surgery I have suffered chronic Cuffitis, my cuff is approx. 1.5cm long and is the area that joins my JPouch to my anus, it is the only source of control for me and when the cuffitis is not managed, I have attacks of urgency and occasional leakage. However, this is not permanent, with medial help, and once resolved, I hope to be finally disease free. I am currently on permanent antibiotics which manage the output which for me has remained acidic. I am using suppositories to manage the Cuffitis (Prednisolone and Salofalk) after 9 months, these have almost resolved the problem.

· If I feel it is not for me because of leakages, pouchitis etc, how long before I can have further surgery to go back to a Ileostomy but a permanent one?

I agreed I would give it a year, however I am now exactly 1-year post surgery and although struggling still, I am still fighting as the good days are amazing, the bad days are all due to my acidic output and Cuffitis. I am now under a top consultant, Professor Hart at St Marks Hospital (London specialist bowel hospital) and undergoing various investigations including Bile Salt Malabsorption to try to sort me out at last!

· How many JPouch’s fail?

Sadly, that one was not answered with exact data which is what we all want to know! However, my specialist nurses advise me it’s a very small percentage. There are so many factors that affect each individual outcome.

· Between stages will output increase from rectum?

My surgeon warned me that if you have 3 stage surgery (Iloestomy, Jpouch creation then takedown) some patients have some output from the rectum, mucus or very rarely some stool but that’s not likely. However, from experience, even with a temporary stoma, you still experience some output of mucus this is because the rectum produces it and until that is removed when a JPouch is made (or its removed if permanent Ileostomy) the mucosa will still be present. I had a weird pressure and feeling of needing a poop about 3 months after my temporary ileostomy, this totally freaked me out as no one warned me!

It happened every week or so until my JPouch was completed. It didn’t hurt at all and after getting over the anger of now having to manage my bag and still poop passed, It didn’t cause and trouble.

I was very lucky and had my JPouch created and connected all in one surgery so for me it made no difference.

· I have struggl