web analytics

Diverting Loop Ileostomy: Understanding This Surgical Procedure

diverting loop ileostomy

The term ‘diverting loop ileostomy’ may not be commonly known, yet for those facing certain gastrointestinal surgeries, it represents a significant milestone on the path to healing. This surgical intervention, while complex, plays a pivotal role in protecting the bowel, allowing it to rest and recover safely.

In the forthcoming article, we will carefully unpack the layers of a diverting loop ileostomy, shedding light on its function, the circumstances necessitating its creation, and the journey patients may expect following the procedure.

As we explore the intricacies of this life-altering surgery, we invite readers to join us in understanding the delicate balance surgeons maintain while performing this procedure and its profound impact on the lives of those it benefits. Stay tuned as we delve into the world of diverting loop ileostomies, providing clarity and insight into this critical medical intervention.

What is diversion loop ileostomy

A diverting loop ileostomy represents a significant surgical strategy, often employed to safeguard the lower bowel’s integrity. This procedure entails the meticulous creation of a stoma, an artificial opening in the abdomen, which serves as a new path for waste elimination. By rerouting the body’s waste via a loop of the ileum—positioned at the abdomen’s surface—the lower intestine is granted a reprieve from its usual duties.

The stoma is typically supported by a rod or bridge. It has two openings: one that actively diverts the stool to the colon rectum and another that leads to the inactive lower bowel. The procedure is reversible, and the bowel’s continuity can be restored in a subsequent surgery once healing is deemed sufficient.


What is the diverting loop ileostomy technique

The diverting loop ileostomy technique is a critical surgical procedure often employed in colon and rectal surgery to manage fecal diversion. This technique is particularly relevant in the context of rectal and colon cancer, treatment, inflammatory bowel disease management, and following low anterior resection, where it serves to protect the newly formed anastomosis.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of the process:

  • Surgical Procedure: The operation involves creating a stoma by bringing a loop of the ileum through an incision in the abdominal wall. This loop is then opened, and the edges are sutured to the skin to form two openings – one that connects to the functioning part of the bowel and another to the inactive part.
  • Stoma Complications: While the technique is generally safe, it is not without potential stoma-related complications, such as prolapse, retraction, or parastomal hernias, which may necessitate further surgical intervention.
  • Ileostomy Reversal: The diverting loop ileostomy is typically temporary. The reversal, or closure, of the ileostomy, is a subsequent procedure that restores bowel continuity once healing has occurred.
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery: The technique can be performed using laparoscopic surgery, which is associated with reduced postoperative complications and quicker recovery times than open surgery.
  • Fecal Diversion: The primary purpose of a diverting loop ileostomy is to divert the fecal stream away from the healing segment of the intestine, reducing the risk of complications like anastomotic leakage.
  • Surgical Treatment: It is a vital component of the surgical treatment for various colorectal conditions and is often preferred due to its reversibility and the ease of managing the stoma.
  • Surgeon Preference: The choice to use a diverting loop ileostomy, as opposed to other forms of ostomy, may be influenced by surgeon preference, the patient’s body mass index, and the presence of risk factors for surgical complications.

In conclusion, the diverting loop ileostomy technique is a sophisticated surgical approach that requires careful consideration of the patient’s condition, the timing of the surgery, and the potential for morbidity surrounding reversal. It remains a cornerstone in colorectal surgery, offering a temporary solution for fecal diversion and the possibility for patients to return to normal intestinal function post-recovery.

The indications for diverting ileostomy

A diverting ileostomy is a surgical procedure that may be indicated for various clinical scenarios within colorectal surgery. This technique is crucial in managing and treating lower digestive tract conditions. Here is a detailed overview of the indications for a diverting ileostomy:

  • Rectal Cancer: For patients undergoing surgery for rectal cancer, a diverting ileostomy can be essential in reducing the stress on healing anastomoses and minimizing the risk of symptomatic anastomotic leakage.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease: In cases of severe ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, where the bowel needs time to heal or when other treatments have failed, an ileostomy provides a temporary rest for the bowel.
  • Low Anterior Resection: After this procedure, which is often performed to remove rectal tumors, a diverting ileostomy may be used to protect the rectal anastomosis.
  • Stoma Complications: The technique is also indicated to manage complications from existing stomas, such as severe prolapse or retraction.
  • Fecal Diversion: A diverting ileostomy is often utilized in severe medical situations, such as intra-abdominal abscesses or large bowel obstructions, to reroute the fecal stream away from affected areas, thereby providing a critical intervention that can be lifesaving.
  • Postoperative Complications: In patients with an increased risk of postoperative issues, like those with a high body mass index or suboptimal nutritional status, a diverting ileostomy can serve as a protective measure against complications at the primary anastomosis site.
  • Elective Surgery: During elective colorectal surgeries with a high risk of anastomotic failure, a diverting ileostomy is implemented as a preventive strategy to safeguard against potential complications.
  • Surgical Treatment: The procedure is part of a larger surgical treatment plan, which may include future operations, such as an ileostomy reversal, once the initial health concern has been adequately managed.

The decision to perform a diverting ileostomy is multifaceted, tailored to the patient’s specific health situation, the nature of their medical condition, and the surgical approach being undertaken. It is a strategic surgical choice aimed at ensuring the safety and facilitating patient healing, especially in complex colorectal surgical cases.

Diverting loop ileostomy technique

stoma reversal

The diverting loop ileostomy technique is a critical surgical procedure in colorectal surgery, designed to divert the fecal stream away from the lower intestines temporarily. This technique is instrumental in protecting distal anastomoses and allowing for healing when the lower bowel is compromised. Here’s an in-depth look at the transverse loop colostomy technique:

  • Surgical Procedure: The operation involves creating a stoma by bringing a loop of the small intestine (the ileum) out through an opening in the abdominal wall. The loop is then opened, and the end is turned back on itself, like a cuff, and stitched to the skin to form a stoma.
  • Stoma Formation: The stoma serves as a new exit point for waste material, bypassing the colon and rectum. This is particularly beneficial following procedures like low anterior resection for rectal cancer, where the integrity of the anastomosis is at risk.
  • Minimally Invasive Options: The technique can be performed using traditional open or minimally invasive surgery, such as laparoscopic surgery, depending on the patient’s condition and surgeon’s preference.
  • Ileostomy Reversal: A key advantage of the loop ileostomy is that it is typically temporary. Once the patient has recovered sufficiently and the anastomosis is deemed secure, the ileostomy can be reversed in a subsequent surgical procedure known as ileostomy closure.
  • Postoperative Care: After the surgery, patients are educated on stoma care and management, which includes monitoring output and managing the stoma appliance.
  • Complications Management: Surgeons must be vigilant in managing potential stoma-related complications, such as high stoma output, which can lead to dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities.

In conclusion, the diverting loop ileostomy technique is a sophisticated surgical strategy that plays a pivotal role in colorectal surgery. It is a temporary but lifesaving measure that allows for the safe treatment of various conditions affecting the lower gastrointestinal tract while preserving the patient’s quality of life through the potential for reversal.

What is the difference between diverting loop ileostomy and end ileostomy?

Understanding the nuances between a diverting loop ileostomy and an end ileostomy is crucial for patients and healthcare providers navigating the complexities of the medical complications of colorectal surgery. While similar in their role of diverting waste from the colon, these surgical interventions differ significantly in their structure, purpose, and, typically, in their permanence.

  • Structural Differences: A diverting loop ileostomy involves creating a stoma from a loop of the ileum, where both ends of the loop remain active, but only one opens onto the abdominal surface. In contrast, an end ileostomy requires the end of the ileum to be brought through the abdomen to form a stoma, effectively terminating the intestinal pathway at that point.
  • Temporary vs. Permanent: Diverting loop ileostomies are generally temporary and can be reversed, allowing for bowel continuity restoration after the healing of the distal anastomosis. An end ileostomy is often permanent, used when the entire colon and rectum need to be removed or bypassed indefinitely due to conditions like ulcerative colitis or non-reversible colorectal cancer.
  • Surgical Indications: To protect a surgical joint, diverting loop ileostomy is typically indicated following procedures such as low anterior resection or ileal pouch-anal anastomosis. An end ileostomy is indicated when there is no possibility of safely reconnecting the bowel, such as after a proctocolectomy.
  • Fecal Diversion: Both types of ileostomy divert the fecal stream, but the loop ileostomy does so while preserving the integrity of the bowel below the stoma, which remains in situ but inactive. The end ileostomy, however, does not maintain an inactive portion of the bowel; the digestive tract is permanently rerouted.
  • Stoma Management: Management of the stoma post-surgery differs, with the loop ileostomy often requiring more complex care due to the presence of two lumens and the potential for reversal.

In summary, the primary difference between a diverting loop ileostomy and an end ileostomy lies in their intended permanence and the surgical context in which they are employed. The diverting loop colostomy ileostomy is a temporary bypass, a protective measure for future intestinal restoration. In contrast, the end ileostomy is a definitive solution, marking the end of the intestinal tract when no further downstream continuity is possible or safe.

Diverting loop ileostomy postoperative complications

loop ileostomy closure

Postoperative complications following a diverting loop ileostomy can present significant challenges for patients and healthcare professionals alike. These complications can range from minor issues resolved with conservative management to severe problems requiring further surgical intervention. Understanding these potential complications is essential for optimal postoperative care and patient education.

  • Stoma Complications: One of the most common issues following a diverting loop ileostomy is stoma-related complications, including peristomal skin irritation, stoma retraction, prolapse, or stenosis. Navigating the complexities of life after an ileostomy involves a keen awareness of the potential hurdles that might arise. While this surgical intervention stands as a beacon of hope for many facing severe gastrointestinal issues, it’s not without its challenges.
  • Infections: The specter of postoperative infections looms large, with the possibility of wound infections or deeper, more menacing intra-abdominal abscesses. These infections are more than mere inconveniences; they can significantly disrupt the healing journey, prolong hospital stays, and, in dire situations, escalate into sepsis—a medical emergency that demands swift action.
  • Obstruction: The path forward can also be hindered by bowel obstruction. Imagine the delicate balance of the intestines disrupted by adhesions, hernias, or a twist at the stoma site—this can manifest as intense abdominal pain, relentless vomiting, and a sudden halt in bowel movements. This scenario calls for immediate medical attention to restore flow and comfort.
  • Dehydration and Electrolyte Imbalance: Then there’s the delicate dance of maintaining hydration and electrolyte balance, particularly tricky when the ileostomy is closer to the small intestine. The colon’s role in absorbing water and electrolytes is bypassed, which can lead to a precarious state of dehydration and imbalance that requires careful monitoring and management.
  • Bowel Perforation: While it’s rare, the risk of bowel perforation during the creation or reversal of an ileostomy is a shadow that looms, however faintly. A perforation can lead to peritonitis—an infection of the abdominal cavity that is as serious as it sounds, often necessitating an urgent return to surgery.
  • Reversal Morbidity: Complications can also arise during the reversal of a diverting loop ileostomy, including anastomotic leak, which may require a re-diversion.

In conclusion, while a diverting loop ileostomy is a valuable surgical technique used to protect distal anastomoses and manage fecal diversion, it is not without risks of wound complications. Postoperative complications can affect recovery, and therefore, close monitoring, patient education on stoma care, and timely intervention are paramount to mitigate these risks and promote patient well-being.


In summary, a diverting loop ileostomy is a critical surgical procedure with a specific role in colorectal surgeries and certain gastrointestinal conditions. While it serves as an effective means for fecal diversion and protection of distal anastomoses, it’s important to acknowledge major complications and the potential for postoperative complications. Patients undergoing this procedure should know the risks and the importance of diligent postoperative care. Proper management and monitoring can address the complications, and patients can navigate the recovery process more smoothly. As we consider the complexities of diverting loop ileostomies, it’s clear that the benefits of this surgical intervention can be life-changing, particularly when balanced with informed patient care and expert medical oversight.


The Impact of Loop Colostomy on Quality of Life and Bowel Function


Loop Colostomy: What You Need to Know


Loop Colostomy Reversal: Techniques and Outcomes


Long-term Outcomes after Loop Colostomy Closure


How an Ileostomy is Done


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may have missed