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How Long Does Colostomy Surgery Take?

A colostomy is a life-changing procedure that improves the quality of life, and with the use of a colostomy bag, one can lead a fun-filled life ahead. It involves creating an opening in the abdomen to which a colostomy pouch is attached. The purpose of this surgery is to provide healing time by diverting the flow of waste towards the colostomy pouch. Colostomy surgery is often carried out to treat conditions like Diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease, and the initial stage of colorectal cancer.

One of the biggest concerns for any ostomates is how long colostomy surgery takes and what the proper procedure is. Many people wonder if colostomy is a complicated surgical procedure that must be time-consuming. This article covers all the relevant details about colostomy and how long it requires, so you have prior knowledge about the procedure for an informed decision.

What leads toward colostomy surgery:

Colostomy surgery is carried out to provide healing or resting time to your colon so that the infected part can heal properly. The following are the disease states that require colostomy:

  • Diverticulitis: inflammation or infection in the large intestine
  • Crohn’s disease: chronic inflammation of the GI tract, especially the large and small intestine
  • Colorectal cancer: cancer of the colon and rectum
  • Imperforate anus: a birth defect in which the opening of the anus is missing
  • Hirschsprung’s disease: a birth defect in which nerve cells are missing in the large intestine, preventing the movement of stool.

Read More: Is a Colostomy Bag for Urine or Poop?

How colostomy surgery is performed?

Colostomy surgery is neither a complicated procedure nor a life-threatening one. The surgery can be carried out as an open surgery or as a laparoscopic surgery. In open surgery, the surgeon will open your abdomen via a large incision, cut the injured part of the intestine, and then reconnect the remaining segments of the intestine together. Your surgeon will carefully bring out a small part of your intestine towards the abdomen to create a stoma. A colostomy bag will be attached to the stoma to collect all the waste that was previously passing via the rectum.

On the other hand, in laparoscopic surgery, several small incisions are made in the abdomen, and your surgeon will insert a probe called a laparoscope to carry out the procedure. Whether your surgeon will perform open surgery or laparoscopic surgery depends on your health and the severity of the disease.

After the surgery, a colostomy bag will be attached to the newly formed stoma along with one or more drainage tubes.

How long does colostomy surgery take?

Since colostomy is not a lengthy process, it requires only 2 to 4 hours for the entire procedure to complete. After the procedure, you will be asked to stay in the hospital for 4 to 7 days on average. It will take approximately 2 to 3 months to recover completely. Once you have recovered and your underlying disease condition has subsided, your surgeon will recommend colostomy reversal surgery or colostomy takedown procedure.

Factors affecting the duration of colostomy surgery:

Though it requires a maximum of 4 hours for the procedure to be performed, there are certain factors that may lengthen the surgical procedure. Some of them are:

  1. Patient’s Health Status: The overall health and medical condition of the patient play a significant role. Patients with pre-existing health issues or complications may require additional time for surgery and recovery.
  2. Type and Complexity of Colostomy: The specific type of colostomy being performed, such as end colostomy, loop colostomy, or double-barrel colostomy, can impact the duration. More complex colostomies may take longer to perform.
  3. Underlying Medical Conditions: Patients with conditions like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or compromised immune systems may experience longer surgical times due to increased surgical risks and complexities.
  4. Extent of Surgery: The extent of surgical intervention required, such as whether additional procedures like bowel resection or tissue repair are needed, can affect the duration of the surgery.
  5. Unexpected Findings: Complications during surgery, such as anatomical variations or unforeseen complications like bleeding or adhesions, may prolong the surgical time as the surgeon addresses these issues.

What is colostomy reversal surgery?

Colostomy reversal, also known as colostomy takedown or colostomy closure, is a surgery aimed at reversing a temporary colostomy. In this procedure, the part of the intestine that was brought outside the abdomen is put back inside and connected to the rest of the intestine.

How colostomy reversal surgery is performed?

Just like colostomy surgery, stoma reversal surgery is performed in two ways: open surgery – in which a big incision is made in the abdomen, and laparoscope – in which several small incisions are made on the abdomen. In colostomy reversal, the part of the colon that was brought outside the abdomen will now be brought back into the abdomen and reconnected to the rest of the part. This way, the stool will be eliminated from the natural pathway via the rectum and colon.

How long does colostomy reversal take?

Colostomy reversal surgery is a small surgical procedure that can be completed in 1 to 2 hours maximum. Depending on your condition, your surgeon will decide either to go for open surgery or opt for laparoscopic stoma reversal. Once your stoma is reversed, you will be asked to stay in the hospital for at least 2 days.

Laparoscopic technique:

Significant advancements have been made in the field of laparoscopic surgery, including techniques for colostomy and colostomy takedown procedures. Laparoscopic procedures for colostomy and stoma reversal involve using minimally invasive surgical approaches. This approach offers several advantages over traditional open surgery methods:

  1. Minimally Invasive Nature: Laparoscopic colostomy is minimally invasive, requiring only small incisions in the abdomen. Compared to traditional open surgery, this results in reduced trauma to surrounding tissues, less postoperative pain, and faster recovery times for patients.
  2. Reduced Risk of Complications: The precise nature of laparoscopic techniques allows for better visualization of internal structures, minimizing the risk of damage to surrounding organs or tissues. This can lead to lower rates of postoperative complications such as infection, bleeding, and hernias.
  3. Shorter Hospital Stays: Patients undergoing laparoscopic colostomy takedown often experience shorter hospital stays compared to those undergoing open surgery. The quicker recovery time and reduced postoperative discomfort contribute to an earlier return to normal activities and daily routines.
  4. Cosmetic Benefits: Laparoscopic surgery typically results in smaller, less noticeable scars compared to open surgery. This can have significant cosmetic benefits for patients, improving body image and self-confidence following the procedure.
  5. 5. Enhanced Safety Profile: Laparoscopic techniques are associated with a lower risk of certain surgical complications such as wound infections, blood loss, and respiratory issues, making them a safer option for many patients undergoing colostomy reversal surgery.


Colostomy surgery is a transformative procedure that changes the way you live your life. The procedure is not at all complicated or lengthy; it requires just 2 to 4 hours to complete, which can be affected by several factors like patient health status or any unplanned complication during the procedure. On the other hand, colostomy reversal is a quick and simple process that requires a maximum of 2 hours to be performed. Both procedures can be performed laparoscopically, which has several benefits over open surgery.

Remember, in order to make an informed decision, it is important to understand the process and factors that may affect the duration of the procedure so that one can easily pave the path toward a brighter and healthier future.

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