If medications or other therapies have failed to relieve your ulcerative colitis, you may be frustrated, in pain, and frightened by the thought of surgery to remove your colon.
The ileal pouch anal anastomosis (IPAA) is a sophisticated surgical solution that allows patients to live a normal, pain-free life, without an external ileostomy bag. We have completed nearly 500 IPAA procedures on patients with ulcerative colitis over the past 20 years. Whenever possible, we use laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgery that uses small incisions to access the abdomen. This means you'll recover from your surgery with less pain, and in less time.
What is an Ileal Pouch?
The ileal pouch anal anastomosis procedure reshapes the intestine to form an internal reservoir that serves as a new rectum after surgery removes your diseased colon and rectum. An ileal pouch is an alternative to an ileostomy - an external bag for collecting waste. An ileal pouch collects your waste internally, and allows you to maintain complete and normal control of your bowels and pass stool through your anus. To learn more, you can view our IPAA video and download our IPAA handbook (PDF) that fully describes the procedure and expected outcomes.
How Will an Ileal Pouch Affect My Life?
Some patients who undergo surgery to remove their colon will need a temporary ileostomy at the time of colon removal and ileal pouch creation. This ileostomy is then reversed a few months later, returning the ability to pass stool through the anus. Our surgeons are leaders in this technique and have performed many ileal pouch surgeries laparoscopically - and sometimes without the need for a temporary ileostomy. This capability sets us apart from other centers. Most patients will be cured of their ulcerative colitis with the surgical removal of their colon and will once again pass stool from their anus, typically with excellent control.
Once you have recovered from surgery, you can resume your normal activities and way of life. You will have control of your bowel movements, and they will pass normally. Your ileal pouch will not be obvious in any way. And you will be pain free with elimination of stool through your anus.
Our doctors are available to respond to your questions and concerns about surgery and the ileal pouch. Your surgeon can also refer you to another ileal pouch patient who is willing to provide support and information from their perspective. To learn more, download the IPAA handbook (PDF) that fully describes the procedure and expected outcomes.