I focused on the digestive system, specifically what a digestive system looks like and how it functions after a total proctocolectomy with a permanent ileostomy. A total proctocolectomy involves removing the large intestine, colon, and rectum. An ileostomy is when the terminal ileum is brought through an incision in the abdomen and ends in a stoma (the red part of my project under the ostomy bag). Waste passes through the limited digestive system into the bag and is then emptied.

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  1. The purpose of this study is to discover what removal of the large intestine and rectum means for overall digestive system function. Observed is the digestive system of a male patient that has had their large intestine as well as rectum removed. The surgical removal of these organs is called a proctocolectomy. The proctocolectomy was completed with an ileostomy. The ileostomy is a surgical procedure which attaches the ileum through the abdomen to the outside of the body. With the removal of the large intestine and rectum, the opening from the ileotomy called a stoma allows the elimination of stool.
    Prior to the procedure the patient suffered from Crohn’s Disease. In the 1970s, when the patient underwent this surgery, it was a typical treatment when damage or disease affected the intestinal tract. A proctocolectomy with ileotomy allows the patient to continue life with few differences. The biggest difference is how stool is eliminated from the body, which now empties involuntarily into an ostomy bag that must be changed out periodically. Another change the patient experienced was the need to adjust their diet since contents do not have the same time frame in the digestive tract as someone with their entire digestive system intact.
    Today, the preferred total proctocolectomy with ileotomy is not the preferred treatment. Surgeons now can perform treatments less invasively, through laparoscopic procedures. Ultimately, the digestive system may not perform as sufficiently after a total proctocolectomy with ileostomy, however a long and fulfilling life experience is still possible.

    Ashley Asher

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