Closing or reversing a colostomy

If you’re going to have your colostomy closed, the surgeon might mention plans to “take it down” or “reverse it” in a few weeks or months, but sometimes the doctor doesn’t say anything about it. It’s best to talk to your surgeon about these things before you leave the hospital so you know what the plans are and when to see the surgeon again. If you’re at home now and didn’t get instructions, call the doctor’s office or clinic and find out what the doctor wants you to do. It’s your job to stay in touch with the doctor.

Many things must be taken into account when thinking about closing a colostomy, such as:

  • The reason you needed the colostomy
  • Whether you can handle more surgery
  • Your health since the operation
  • Other problems that may have come up during or after surgery

In its original form this document was written by the United Ostomy Association, Inc. (1962-2005) and reviewed by Jan Clark, RNET, CWOCN and Peg Grover, RNET. It has since been modified and updated by:

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master’s-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: December 2, 2014 Last Revised: December 2, 2014

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