Complications of J-Pouch Surgery

Updated April 17, 2017

Having to go endure J-pouch surgery can be a life changing event, as you will have to learn to cope with a variety of difficulties after surgery is complete. Understanding the possible complications of the procedure can help you to make a more informed decision about whether J-pouch surgery is right for you.

J-Pouch Surgery

J-pouch surgery is a procedure used to correct severe cases of digestive disorders such as colitis and Crohn's, along with being an option for individuals who must have a portion of their intestinal tract removed as with colon cancer patients. During the surgery, the doctor creates a "pouch" out of the small intestine, connecting it to the anus and effectively bypassing the large intestine portion of the digestive tract.

Risk of Death

The J-pouch procedure is relatively safe from a medical point of view. According to statistics from the Institute for Laparoscopic Surgery, the risk of death associated with the J-pouch procedure is less than 1 per cent. This statistic encompasses all deaths during surgery, whether from physician error or some other cause such as allergic reaction to the anesthetic.

Infrequent Complications

The most infrequent complications stemming from J-pouch surgery include the following: impotence and other sexual dysfunction, retrograde ejaculation, painful intercourse, and leakage of stool during intercourse (only affecting women). On average, these items have less than a 5 per cent (1 in 20) chance of occurring after a J-pouch procedure.

Frequent Complications

More common complications resulting from the procedure include development of an abscess within the pelvis (a swollen, pus-filled area), leaking from the newly formed pouch and anal strictures (abnormal narrowing of the anus). According to statistics from the Institute for Laparoscopic Surgery, these items have up to a 10 per cent chance of occurring.

Likely Complications

The most likely complication resulting from J-pouch surgery is bowel obstruction. Bowel obstruction refers to a blockage within the intestinal tract (either partial or complete) that prevents the process of digestion from successfully completing. This often has to be treated with an additional surgical procedure, and has up to a 20 per cent chance of occurring during any J-pouch surgery.

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About the Author

TS Jordan is an Ohio licensed attorney living and practicing out of the Cleveland area. In addition to his Juris Doctorate, he holds a Bachelors' Degree in Information Systems. He has been writing professionally for less than a year.