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Is this Surgery Right for Me?

Every person is unique. That's why no two individuals will respond exactly the same to a specific medication, and not everyone is a candidate for a particular surgery.

For some people with disease of the colon (large intestine), an "anal sparing" operation may offer an alternative to a permanent ileostomy.

During ileal J-pouch anal anastomosis surgery, the surgeon removes the entire diseased colon and nearly all the rectum. However, the anal muscles are left intact so that elimination remains relatively the same.

This article will talk about the reasons for ileal J-pouch anal anastomosis surgery, what you may expect, and the benefits and risks of this operation.

Be sure to explore your options with your physician.

What are the reasons for ileal J-pouch anal anastomosis surgery?
Reasons for this surgery as well as some reasons not to have the surgery (contraindications) are summarized in the table below.

Reasons for Surgery   Contraindications
Ulcerative colitis

Familial adenomatous polyposis

  Crohn's disease

Those who have had their anal muscles removed

Weak or injured anal muscles

What are the potential risks for patients undergoing ileal J-pouch anal anastomosis surgery?
For people who are otherwise healthy, infections are considered the most common potential risks. They may include:

  • wound infections
  • urinary tract infections
  • pneumonia, and
  • intra-abdominal infections if the area of surgery doesn't heal properly.

Note: Bleeding and the chance of needing a blood transfusion are also possible risks. If your blood count is high enough, we recommend that you donate some of your own blood before surgery. That way, if you need transfusion, we give you back your own blood, which is safest.

What are the benefits of this surgery?
The absence of a permanent ostomy eliminates the concern of many people about their body image. Satisfaction with this procedure has been high.

Remember: Life after ileal J-pouch anal anastomosis surgery is different. It will take time, patience, and trial and error to adjust to this lifestyle change. See the series of entitled "Life After Surgery" for tips on managing your pouch, follow-up screenings, and more.

If you would like, your surgeon can arrange for you to meet someone else who has had ileal J-pouch anal anastomosis surgery. Often patients who have had this surgery offer to speak to other patients about their experiences.

Knowledge Is Power
Your surgeon, her nurse and assistants are always happy to answer any questions you or your family may have about ileal J-pouch anal anastomosis surgery and the recovery process. Together, you and your doctor can determine whether this operation is right for you.

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