by Diana Kohnle
This is surgery of the abdominal wall and intestines. An opening is made into the intestines to drain the contents out or put in a feeding tube.
Reasons for Procedure TOP
This surgery is done when a new exit for intestinal or fecal matter is needed. It may be needed when feces can no longer travel through the bowels and out the anus.
An enterostomy may also be needed when food can no longer enter the mouth or stomach normally. In this case, a feeding tube will be placed to help food enter the intestines.
Possible Complications TOP
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure
General anesthesia will be used. It will block any pain and keep you asleep through the surgery. It is given through an IV in your hand or arm.
Description of the Procedure TOP
There are different ways this surgery can be done. In one technique, an intestinal sac for collecting fecal waste is created inside of the abdomen. This sac will include a hole called a stoma in the abdominal wall. The stoma allows access to the sac so that it can be emptied through a tube. In another technique, the intestine is directly attached to the abdominal wall so that an external bag can be attached to collect fecal waste.
If the surgery is done to place a feeding tube, an incision will be made in your abdominal wall. The doctor will grasp a section of your small intestine. A small opening will be made. The tube will be placed through this opening and secured in place with sutures. The tube will then be brought through your abdominal wall. It will be secured with sutures.
These procedures may be done by an:
How Long Will It Take? TOP
How Much Will It Hurt? TOP
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
Average Hospital Stay TOP
This procedure is done in a hospital setting. The usual length of stay is 2-4 days. Your doctor may choose to keep you longer if complications occur.
Post-procedure Care TOP
At the Hospital
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
Call Your Doctor TOP
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Academy of Family Physicians
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
Canadian Digestive Health Foundation
Gastroenterology urology devices. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at:
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Published April 1, 2010. Accessed May 23, 2013.
Shellito PC, Malt RA. Tube gastrostomy. Techniques and complications. Ann Surg. 1985;201:180-185.
Torosian MH, Rombeau JL. Feeding by tube enterostomy. Surg Gynecol Obstet. 1980;150:918-927.
6/3/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
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Mills E, Eyawo O, et al. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.
Last reviewed March 2014 by Daus Mahnke, MD
Last Updated: 5/7/2014