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Plastic surgery?

Hello all

I had a complete hysterectomy and my rectum and anus removed on May 31. Unfortunately, the stitches on the back end have come apart and my surgeon is going to refer me to a plastic surgeon for more surgery.

I'm wondering if folks here who have had plastic surgery can offer some advice about what to expect. How long did it take you to heal? If you didn't get plastic surgery but your stitches came undone, what did your surgeon recommend to have it heal up? Did the surgeon use your own skin from elsewhere on the body to fix the back end? Im worried about that because I've got lichen planus all over my body except for my back. And I also have pyoderma on my leg and in the peristomal area.

Any advice, insight, strategies, and stories of your personal experience would be so helpful!


I had a proctocolectomy with my rectum and anus and a very large lump of affected flesh removed. The district nurses said that I had a caverty the size of a large man's fist and they were horrified when they first saw it.

Originally, the surgeon sewed it up and I was sent home but overnight, my stitches, like yours, came apart and I woke in great pool of blood. I was, of course, admitted back into hospital and there was discussion about plastic surgery and of taking a lump of flesh from my thigh to fill in the cavity.

Eventually, however, the surgeon decided that the best option, although it would take longer to heal, was to leave the wound open and allow it to heal from inside/back out to the surface.

My surgeon did not want anything used on the wound except saline water to wash it daily before packing it with Kaltostat, an alginate (seaweed) wound dressing. I live alone, so the district nurses came daily to wash and pack the wound. Even they were amazed that I did not get any infections at all during the 7 months that it took to heal completely. And I have had no problems with the area since.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. :hug:


Staff member
Hi...sorry you are having problems
First of all better to wait for the plastic surgeon consult...hopefully it will be soon then things will fall into place.
Skin can be grown from healthy skin cells and used for transplant.
The plastic surgeon will be able to evaluate your situation and whether it will need a skin transplant and then take it from there
It is possible you may not need a skin transplant though.
Hope your appointment will be in the very near future
Feel better soon
Thanks for your replies, Susan2 and Trysha!

Yes, I'm trying to figure out what is the best way to go, and I want to lean towards the healing strategy that you went with, Susan2. My skin is so damaged with the lichen planus and pyoderma that I'm worried about using any of my skin and creating even more issues. At this point, I'm resigned to hanging in through the long haul for the healing to happen!

Yes, I'll wait to see what the plastic surgeon will say.

Susan2: the nurse was also a bit shocked with what she saw when she had a look at the back end! My surgeon, on the other hand, said my disease had taken such a toll that he wasn't surprised that my stitches had blown. It took him almost 4.5 hours to do the surgery, and he was hoping that he might have been successful, so I think he's as 'bummed' as me about the stitches coming apart!

Susan2: did it hurt to get the area cleaned and packed? How long before you were able to sit on your bottom?

Thanks again to both of you...I appreciate your experience and guidance!


Hi Kismet.

The district nurses would ring me about 40 minutes before they were going to arrive and I would take an Endone to help with the pain of cleaning and repacking to wound. I would get up and shower, ready for them. The pain was nowhere near unbearable and decreased as the flesh grew back in. We measured the improvement by the amount of packing that had to be used.

To start with, I had difficulty lying on my back, let alone sitting; as time went on I was able to sit if necessary, although the surgeon said to sit as little as possible to help with the healing. Fortunately, I was retired and could spend most of my time in bed. They warn you to avoid the rubber rings or 'donuts' but to sit on some deep, soft pillows when necessary. (I still have some difficulty sitting for long periods of time on hard flat surfaces - like church pews - unless I take a soft cushion with me.)

I'm sorry that I am a bit vague about the time it took to be able to sit comfortably but it took about 7 months to heal completely. As the surgeon said, we weren't going to rush it and that helped in having it heal cleanly, without any infection.
Thanks for your reply, Susan2 -- it's incredibly helpful! Based on what you're saying, I think I'm going to ask if there's a possibility to go the route you did, rather than more surgery. Like you, I'm off work right now...I had an aggressive attack of iritis six months ago, and it doesn't seem to be letting up, and I'm now legally blind. Until I can come up with the right kinds of equipment, I'm unable to do my job, so I can take advantage of this moment to stay off my bottom!

Again, I really appreciate your insights!