Ileostomy Diet Update - Ileostomy Surgery Expert Says Pecan Pie and Peanut Brittle Can Be Holiday Menu Fare For Brooke Ostomates

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A California ileostomy surgery expert says: "Brooke ostomates don't have to deny themselves the holiday foods their friends snd family eat -- if they have a BCIR. With a BCIR," he says, "'formerly forbidden foods like fresh fruits, olives, raw vegetables, and even popcorn and peanuts, are on the menu.

For many ileostomy surgery patients, the holidays can serve as an sad reminder that they cannot eat the same foods as everyone else, says Don J. Schiller, the physician who heads the Ileostomy Surgery Information Center in Los Angeles. "Many of the season's favorites are off-limits -- including popcorn, peanuts, pecan pies and salads garnished with carrots, radishes and broccoli. The 'no-no' list goes on and on, but it doesn't have to -- because a BCIR changes everything."

So, what's a BCIR?

BCIR is an abbreviation for the Barnett continent intestinal reservoir, named for the American doctor who developed the procedure in the 1980s. The operation creates a self-sealing internal pouch that temporarily stores waste without wearing a bag or other external appliance. The operation evolved from the Koch pouch procedure developed more than 35 years ago.

Brooke ostomates who get a BCIR have no dietary restrictions, even over the holidays, says Schiller. "Finally, they have control over the discharge of their internal waste. They lose the external bag and win a new way of life. They eat what they want and the food passes smoothly into the internal pouch. When it's convenient, they drain the waste material by inserting a tube."

The BCIR works because the pouch is actually made of natural material -- the patient's own intestine. This means that food continues to digest right up until the patient empties the internal pouch in the toilet.

"Emptying a pouch is simple and painless," says Schiller. "You can do it anywhere -- in a public restroom, an airplane or even out camping. The catheters are inexpensive and they last for months. Most patients empty, or intubate, their pouches from two to five times a day, depending on the individual."

Why do so many Brooke ostomates experience serious dietary restrictions, even when it comes to eating the most ordinary foods?

"Because a Brooke ileostomy procedure is actually "asking" the body to do what it wasn't made to do," says Schiller. "For example, when the ordinary person eats too many nuts all at once, the intestinal muscle moves the food downstream. However, when a Brooke ostomate downs a fist full of peanuts, his digestive waste must travel uphill through the abdominal wall to reach the external appliance. The small intestine is a continuous flow system; waste is always being passed into the external bag. However, if the nuts form into a ball, which they often do, the intestine can't push it out, and that's when food blockage occurs. Food blockage causes bloating and nausea -- and all the while, nothing is emptying into the ileostomy bag."

Schiller says he talks personally by telephone with patients and family members who want to learn more about the BCIR. "These are always no-cost consultations; I don't assign the calls to my staff. All a person has to do is phone my office and my assistant will set up the appointment."

The most satisfied BCIR patients receive long-term personalized care from their surgeons, he says. "I develop a relationship with patients. I want them to feel comfortable asking questions before and after surgery -- and for years afterward. We stay in touch, and I communicate regularly with their family doctors."

For more information about BCIR ileostomy surgery, visit, or call Dr. Schiller at Ileostomy Surgery Information Center at 310-204-4565.

About Dr. Schiller

Don J. Schiller, M.D., FACS, heads the Ileostomy Surgery Information Center. He is among a small number of physicians in the United States who performs the specialized surgery. He has operated on hundreds of ileostomy patients from all over the world during his 30-year medical career. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and was certified by the American Board of Surgery in 1977. He received his M.D. degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and did surgical training at UCLA in Los Angeles.


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Don J. Schiller, MD
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