What is a colostomy?

What is a colostomy?

If, for some reason, your rectum or a lower part of your colon has been removed or if it needs to rest for a period, you will need an artificial opening of the large intestine (called a stoma or an ostomy) for the faeces to pass through. This is called a colostomy.

During colostomy surgery, part of your colon (large intestine) is brought out onto the surface of your abdomen creating an opening called a stoma. A colostomy is usually created on the left-hand side of your abdomen and it can be either temporary or permanent depending on the reason for surgery or the severity of the illness.

Faeces in this part of the intestine are usually a soft formed stool. Because a stoma has no muscle to control defecation, faeces will need to be collected using a pouch.

end colostomy

What is an end colostomy?

The most common kind of colostomy is an end colostomy, where the end of the colon (large intestine) is brought out onto the surface of your abdomen and then stitched to the skin creating an opening called a stoma.

An end colostomy can be either permanent or temporary

A temporary colostomy is typically used in situations where the diseased part of the intestine has either been removed or needs to rest before the large intestine can be re-joined together.

The permanent solution is chosen in situations where it is too risky or not possible to re-join the two parts of the intestine.

colostomy pouch features

What is a loop colostomy?

In a loop colostomy a loop of the bowel is brought out above skin level. An incision is made half way through the large bowel to create two openings. This is then rolled back on itself and sewn onto the skin forming the stoma.

The loop colostomy is typically a temporary measure performed in acute situations. It can also be carried out to protect a surgical join in the bowel.

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