what to expect before and after ostomy surgery

Before and after surgery

What to expect before and after your stoma surgery

Before you leave for surgery

Be sure to get plenty of rest before your surgery date, as your body will need energy to recover. It might also be a good idea to pack some loose-fitting clothes to wear when you leave the hospital again so that you feel comfortable.

Nurse examination. Finding the right stoma site.

Finding the right stoma site

Your stoma nurse will, together with you, choose the best location for your stoma. It's important that it fits to your normal lifestyle, allowing you to move, bend and turn, free from restrictions.

Talk about the stoma site with your stoma nurse, and when the location has been marked, try to check and if you can see and reach it comfortably. If it feels very awkward, you may want to talk to your stoma care nurse about possible alternatives.

Waking up after surgery

As you wake up after the operation, you will probably be tired and a little disoriented. Try to remember that you are in very good hands and will have close guidance every step of the way.

You will already be wearing your first 'pouch'. Most likely this will be see-through, allowing the nurses to check it easily. If you prefer, you will soon be able to change to one that is not see-through.

What will my ostomy be like? Will it hurt?

What will my stoma be like? Will it hurt?

Your stoma will protrude from your stomach, and it will be bright red. Because of the colour, some find that it "looks like it hurts". But on the contrary, there are no sensitive nerves in the stoma. The tissue is similar to the inside of your mouth, and touching it feels about the same – soft, warm and a little moist.

It is completely normal to feel self-conscious about your stoma at first. But remember that the doctors and nurses who take care of you have seen it many times and that their only concern is your well-being.

Don’t be alarmed by the tubes and drains

You could also have various tubes and drains attached to your body. While it might look a little overwhelming, this is just part of the normal post-operative procedure. Your nurse will be able to explain what all of the equipment is if you are concerned.

You may have an IV attached in order to give you pain relief, or sometimes they can be giving you fluids that you need until you are well enough to drink normally. Any drains will be there to remove fluid/ blood that are left over from the surgery. These will all be removed before you go home.

Adjusting at home

When it is time for you to leave the hospital it is a good idea to make arrangements with friends or relatives, if at all possible, to be available for support in the first few days after your coming home.

While in hospital, you will receive training from your stoma care nurse. But if possible, it is often helpful to involve your partner or another close relative in the training. This will make it easier to continue your training at home.

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