what is colostomy?
A colostomy: this is an operation to divert 1 end of the colon (part of the bowel) through an opening in the tummy.
The opening is called a stoma. A pouch can be placed over the stoma to collect your poo (stools). A colostomy can be permanent or temporary.
When a colostomy is needed?
A colostomy may be needed if one cannot pass stools through their anus. This could be the result of an illness, injury or problem with your digestive system.
A colostomy it is often used after a section of the colon has been removed and the bowel cannot be joined back together.
This may be temporary and followed by another operation to reverse the colostomy at a later date, or it may be permanent.
How is colostomy done?
There are 2 main types of colostomy: a loop colostomy and an end colostomy. The specific technique used will depend on your circumstances.
A loop colostomy is often used if the colostomy is temporary as it’s easier to reverse.
In a loop colostomy, a loop of colon is pulled out through a cut in your tummy. The loop is opened up and stitched to your skin to form an opening called a stoma.
The stoma has 2 openings that are close together. One is connected to the functioning part of your bowel, where waste leaves your body after the operation. The other opening is connected to the inactive part of your bowel, leading to your anus. In some cases, a support device (a rod or bridge) may be used to hold the loop of colon in place while it heals. It’s usually removed after a few days.
With an end colostomy, 1 end of the colon is pulled out through a cut in your tummy and stitched to the skin to create a stoma. An end colostomy is often permanent. Temporary end colostomies are sometimes used in emergencies.
The stoma : position of the stoma will depend on the section of your colon that’s diverted, but it’s usually on the left-hand side of your tummy, below your waists. If the operation is planned in advance, you’ll meet a specialist stoma nurse to discuss the positioning of the stoma.
The stoma will be red and moist and may bleed slightly, particularly in the beginning – this is normal. It should not be painful as it does not have a nerve supply.
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