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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is the success rate for stoma reversal?

    I have a temporary colostomy, following Hartmanns Procedure for perforated bowel due to diverticulitis . This was an emergency operation. I am 47 year old female and have no other medical issues.

    I now have to decide whether to have a reversal.

    I have had initial discussions with my surgeon and he seems quite confident, however, I have read horrible stories on online forums that have got me worried.

    I would like to know what the success rates in Australia are for this surgery and what I could expect with regard to bowel function in the long term.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 42


    Chris Fonda

    Dietitian, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian

    As an Accredited Sports Dietitian, APD and athlete (springboard diver), Chris has both professional and personal experience in sport at the sub-elite and elite level.Chris … View Profile

    I am not sure on the success rates in Australia however this procedure has come a long way and is now usually conducted laproscopically which reduces the mortality and morbidity risk by a significant amount. I would encourage you to ask your surgeon and trust his advice on this one. I wouldn't worry about what online forums say as everyone is individual and you are quite young with no other medical conditions.

    Generally after bowel surgery you will be on clear fluids (until you pass flatus/gas) then progress to nourishing fluids (in the initial few days), then to a low residue diet (low fibre + low in caffeine, spices etc ) for around 2-3 weeks or until your surgeon is happy for you to start commencing a normal diet. If you decide to have the reversal you may go through these stages again as it gives the bowel time to rest and recover. During this recovery phase you may experience excessive diarrhoea and therefore it is recommended that you keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water and include an oral rehydration solution (i.e. hydralyte) daily to help replenish the salts lost. 

    The Hartmanns procedure in general removes only a small part of your diseased large bowel (sigmoid or rectum) and with no other complications most surgeons will generally reverse your colostomy after a period of time (usually around 3 months). You can expect to gain near normal bowel function.

    For more expert advice, talk to your surgeon or GP. For more detailed dietary advice around how to manage your diet post reversal, you should have a dietitian come and chat with you. If not you can find an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) by logging onto the Dietitians Association of Australia's website (

  • 48


    lheng ryan

    HealthShare Member

    I have my bag for 5 months due to my diverticulitis ruptured,but my doctors told me im going to get it reversed after 4 to 5 months, I'm very healthy, I try to look after myself and I try not to have any infection around my stomach, and after my 5 months waiting, excitement, I finally got my surgery, I did have my colostomy reversal or reversal hartsmann and I'm 50 yrs old female and still recovering. I had my surgery last November 19 2015 and I'm very happy to have my bowel back to normal again, still drinking my prune juice, just helps me going to the washroom, 

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