The J-pouch has become a standard treatment after a colectomy and ileostomy for colon cancer treatment or prevention, familial polyposis, ulcerative colitis or other serious intestinal ailments. Since the J-pouch is created from the terminus of the small intestine and joined to the anal canal to provide for stool passage, there are a number of complications that may occur during or after the surgery.
After the ileoanal anastomosis (J-pouch) procedure, some patients experience a failed J-pouch due to medical complications or the lifestyle changes required to maintain it. Fortunately, for these patients there are options. The most desirable and effective option for many (but not all) former J-pouch patients is the BCIR (Barnett Continent Intestinal Reservoir). This continent ileostomy solution provides an alternative means of elimination control, which is more convenient and less stressful for the right patient population.
Common J-Pouch Problems
The J-pouch works well for many patients after an initial recovery and adjustment period. For many others, however, the J-pouch fails bringing complications like the following:
Frequent bowel movements, especially at night, plague many J-pouch patients, continually interrupting sleep and degrading their quality of life with debilitating fatigue. If you are a good candidate for the BCIR continence solution, it can allow you to take charge of when you go to the bathroom, putting you in better control of your schedule — and your life.
Leakage of stool at night and occasional daytime accidents, which can limit the freedom of movement for some J-pouch patients and lead to anal and skin irritation and infections. The BCIR uses a valve designed to prevent leakage, reducing anxiety about possible leaks, and, since waste is catheter drained, there is less chance of irritation/infection of the skin and no anal fistula risk.
Internal leakage where the small intestine is sutured to the rectum/anus, which can cause a life-threatening, system wide sepsis infection, if not immediately treated. The BCIR has a less complicated internal suture line and the pouch placement is lateral, which helps avoid leaks inside the body. The terminus of the small intestine is strengthened by being folded back on itself, essentially doubling the thickness of the intestine’s exit.
Diet management required to optimize the timing of bowel movements and prevent diarrhea/watery stool. Regulating bowel movements through diet changes becomes somewhat less important; since the BCIR is emptied at will by the patient.
BCIR is not right for everyone, for instance, those with active Crohn’s disease affecting the small intestine must consider a different solution. However, if you’ve had a failed J-pouch, an ileostomy specialist can explain your options and help determine if you’re a good candidate to benefit from the Barnett Continent Intestinal Reservoir.