An operation in which the ileum (lower part of the small intestine) is cut and the end brought through the abdominal wall and formed into an artificial opening called a stoma. Waste is discharged from the remaining ileum into a disposable bag (stoma bag) or drained into a pouch made from the end of the ileum and situated beneath the skin (a procedure called a continent ileostomy). In the latter, faeces draining into the pouch are emptied regularly through a soft catheter. An ileostomy can be permanent or temporary. Permanent ileostomy is usually performed on people with severe, uncontrolled ulcerative colitis. Temporary ileostomy is sometimes done at the time of partial colectomy (removal of part of the colon) to allow the colon to heal before waste material passes through it. It may also be done as an emergency treatment for an obstruction in the intestine. The stoma is created from a loop of the intestine that is brought to the surface. (This is later reversed by a 2nd operation.) During convalescence, patients are given counselling and taught the practical aspects of stoma care or drainage of continent ileostomies. Full recovery from the operation takes about 6 weeks.


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