Ileostomy reversal op delays

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Having had 2 postponements already for my reversal surgery, I arrived at the hospital 07.30 last monday and after being prepped for surgery and then waiting 6 hrs in a windowless small room with no information I was told that there had been problems with theatre equipment and a cancer op was over running. Also there were no staff available to carry operations into the late afternoon/evening. Released to go home with a new date of 13th May!

The next day I found that I could barely talk to anyone including my wife and realised I was in some sort of shock mode. Not particularly angry but speechless! I forced my way out of it and 2 days on I am ok and planning things to fill the next 2.5 weeks!

This is so different to the way I was treated last June, post Chemo/Radio therapies I only waited a month for LAR surgery and had superb care throughout.

Since agreeing to the reversal I feel very much second class and understand cancer ops come before me. But surely some reversals should be slotted in amongst the cancer ops for the sake of mental health.

I feel that if the May date doesn't happen for any reason I will be forced down the private route for my own mental health.

My surgeon is quoting 10.5k estimate to have it done at Princess Grace in London. Maybe that's what they want to happen with non urgent surgery.

It's a shame but I don't feel I can trust anybody in Nhs anymore. I never felt this way before.

Sadly,  Richard.

  • Hi  and I’m so sorry to hear that your op was cancelled. I remember my surgeon telling me that reversals were nice little gap fillers in between the bigger ops. Unfortunately the length of an operation is hard to predict and the ones scheduled for the end of the day are the ones that get bumped. 
    Please don’t feel second class - it’s more ‘less of a priority.’ Your LAR was a necessity whereas the reversal is not. The hospitals should also be out of the winter pressure phase now so hopefully running a bit more smoothly.

    Everything crossed that you have your reversal in May and you can put the 10k towards a trip to Tasmania to see your family

    Take care

    Karen x

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm
  • Hi Richard21,

    sorry to hear about your delays. I know how you must be feeling, having had a reversal two years ago. I went for my operation and sat for many hours before being told that they might not be able to do it that day. A nurse called me into a cubicle and told to change into gown. Later, someone came into the ward and I heard them ask for another patient. The nurse said that that patient had phoned up to say they could not come in today, so the person asked who could go into theatre? The nurse told him that I was ready, so they took me in for surgery. I felt very relieved that I had got in by the skin of my teeth, having waited ten months for the reversal, due to the pandemic. I remember well the anxious feelings as I had sat there waiting, but I kept telling myself that I had waited ten months with very few problems with my stoma, so if the worst happened and they could not do it that day, it was not the end of the world for me.

    Like you, I could not fault the cancer treatment that I got. I had mine during lock-down and it was surreal having treatment in a very empty hospital and not being able to have any visitors, but at least the parking was free.  I do hope that you get your reversal soon and get well quickly.


  • Hi Richard21 I’m so sorry that you feel delays and postponements to your reversal surgery mean you no longer feel you can trust anyone in the NHS anymore.

    My surgeon offered me a reversal of my ileostomy in September 2022, but told me I would go on his list as a ‘routine’ operation and could not give me a date. To go private was not an option.

    I accepted this, knowing that cancer surgery took priority. In fact my original surgery, scheduled for three hours ended up taking 7 and a half hours and undoubtedly lead to someone else having their surgery cancelled that day.

    After a wait of eight months, and a cancelation in late April 2023, my reversal took place on 4 May 2023. I was prepped and ready for surgery by 8:00am but only went down to theatre at 3:30pm.

    Unfortunately I do think delays for ‘routine’ operations are not uncommon. Thankfully my cancer surgery and subsequent chemotherapy treatment was not delayed, even though most of it took place in the middle of the pandemic.

  • Hi Karen, thank you for your kind words. We did get out to Tas last Oct, lovely spring days for them and nice to meet our new twin grandsons. They are due over here in July so hoping I'm sorted by then!

    Cheers, Richard.

  • Hi Lucky 1, good to know this is what happens but you did get lucky! I'm over it now, just wish the Cat 3 team had been a bit more professional and not told me I would get the op in Jan and then Feb for it not to happen.

    All the best, Richard.

  • Hi Spider 56, thanks for your message. It helps me process my thoughts! I know there are a lot of good people in the Nhs trying to work under a lot of pressure. I needed to vent a bit in my post! It would have been so much better if I had not had to chase up the clinical admissions team for each of the dates they gave me verbally to find they were no longer valid. Seems a little chaotic to me but I suppose to get all the folk in one place for an op and the aftercare is challenging.

    All the best, Richard.

  • Hi Richard

    I had my reversal in January which was 14 months after I had my stoma. It was delayed a few times which really messed with my head but at least, I didn't actually have to cope with being cancelled at the last minute. That would have really upset me so credit to you for pushing through the disappointment.

    Now I am over 3 months post op and all is going well so hang in there, once you've had it done, all of the delays are forgotten. Good Luck!


  • Hi Sue

    Nearly one of the 3 weeks extra weeks wait gone already!!

    Best wishes, Richard