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Can A Colostomy Bag Be Reversed?

You will be surprised to know that a colostomy can be done in any part of the colon and they can be temporary and permanent. About 74% of cases of colostomys are permanent and are due to a high risk of complications. Whereas, approximately 26% can be reversed via a surgical procedure usually at least 3 months after the first colostomy surgery.

In this article, we will explore the concept of colostomy reversal, the circumstances in which it is considered, and the process involved.


Before delving into the question of reversal, it’s essential to understand what a colostomy is. A colostomy is a surgical procedure that involves creating an opening (stoma) in the abdominal wall through which a portion of the large intestine (colon) is brought to the surface. The end of the colon that is brought out is stitched to the skin, forming a stoma. Waste material then exits the body through this stoma and collects in a colostomy bag, which is worn externally.


Colostomy reversal is a surgical procedure in which a stoma that was made in your abdomen is reversed.

This is a temporary stoma that is created to evacuate the solid waste from your body into the colostomy bag in conditions like Diverticulitis, colorectal cancers, or IBD. A colostomy reversal procedure is usually conducted after 3 months of your first colostomy surgery. And interestingly, the procedure for colostomy reversal is way easier and simpler than the initial colostomy surgery.


The surgical procedure for colostomy taking down or closure depends on various factors that include the patient’s overall health, the basic reason for colostomy, and the condition of the colon. Reversal is not always possible or recommended. Here are some key factors that determine the feasibility of colostomy reversal:

Underlying Condition:

The primary factor in determining if a colostomy can be reversed is the condition that led to the colostomy in the first place. For some, it may be a temporary measure to allow the bowel to heal, while for others, it is permanent.

General Health:

A patient’s overall health plays a significant role in determining the possibility of reversal. Good physical condition and the absence of other complicating health issues can make a reversal more likely to succeed.

Condition of Colon:

It is one of the most important factors that determine the feasibility of colon reversal. Your surgeon will assess the condition of the remaining colon. If the colon that is left behind is healthy enough to handle feces, then reversal may be considered.

Patient’s Willingness:

The final decision to reverse colostomy greatly depends upon the patient willingness. Some individuals have embraced colostomy happily and have chosen to live with colostomy for the rest of their lives. Whereas, some individuals find it difficult to maintain so for such individuals, colostomy reversal is a sigh of relief.


Usually, patient health and age matter a lot for colostomy reversal. If the patient is young and healthy, with an improved colon and with improved underlying disease condition, then they may be an ideal candidate for colostomy reversal surgery.

On the other hand, colostomy surgery is not recommended if the patient is geriatric or has any malignant disease or cardiovascular disease.


Reversal procedure is usually recommended after 3 months of your first colostomy surgery. Your surgeon will evaluate and examine your healing progress. Moreover, will make sure that the underlying disease condition has been treated and there aren’t any post-operative complications that could hinder in colostomy reversal procedure. After evaluation, if any factor goes in favor of reversal surgery, then the procedure will be scheduled.

Colostomy reversal is a way easier procedure than colostomy surgery. The main aim of surgery is to reconnect the colon with the remaining section to restore your normal bowel.


In the majority of cases, colostomy reversal is a successful operation. Whereas, colostomy reversal failure is the biggest concern of any surgeon for which they remain very cautious throughout the procedure.

Usually, fluid leakage from the two joined ends of the colon leads to colostomy reversal failure.  This is the most common cause which leads to slow wound healing. Also, it welcomes microbial infections.

Apart from this, bowel obstruction and improper sealing of surgical wounds also contribute to the failure of the colostomy reversal procedure.


Once the surgery is done, you will have to stay for 3 to 7 days under observation of medical staff to ensure your wound healing. They will monitor your bowel function and will intervene in any medical emergency.

Remember, healing will take time. Your wound will take 2 to three months and you may experience diarrhea or constipation.

It’s important to note that while colostomy reversal offers the potential for a return to normal bowel function, it may not always be perfect. Some individuals may still experience issues such as urgency, incontinence, or altered bowel habits after the reversal.


In conclusion, colostomy reversal is possible, but its feasibility depends on a variety of factors, including the underlying condition, the patient’s general health, and the condition of the remaining colon. The decision to undergo colostomy reversal is a highly individual one and should be made in consultation with medical professionals.

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