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Alternative namesIntestinal opening
DefinitionColostomy is a surgical procedure that creates an opening (stoma) on the abdomen for the drainage of stool from the large intestine (colon). The procedure is usually done after bowel resections or injuries and it may be temporary or permanent.
The procedure is done while the patient is under general anesthesia (unconscious and pain-free). An incision is made in the abdomen and the bowel resection or repair is performed as needed.
For the colostomy, the proximal (nearer to the small intestine) end of the healthy bowel tissue is then passed through the abdominal wall, and the edges are stitched to the skin of the abdominal wall. An adhesive drainage bag (stoma appliance) is placed around the opening. The abdominal incision is closed.
There are a number of reasons to perform a colostomy:
Whether a colostomy is temporary or permanent depends on the disease process or injury being treated. In most cases, colostomies are temporary and can be closed with another operation at a later date. If a large portion of the bowel is removed, or if the distal (far) end of the colon is too diseased to be reconnected to the proximal intestine, the colostomy may be permanent.
Risks for any anesthesia are:
Risks for any surgery are:
Additional risks are:
Expectations after surgeryThe colostomy functions to drain stool (feces) from the colon into the colostomy bag. Most colostomy stool is softer and more liquid that normally passed stool. The degree of liquidity of the stool depends on the location of the intestinal segment used to form the colostomy.
ConvalescenceHospital stay is usually 7 to 10 days. After 2 to 4 days, the patient will be able to resume eating. Complete healing may take one to two months. Learning to clean the abdomen and change the colostomy bag will be necessary. Most people can eventually change the bag at regular and convenient times.
Update Date: 11/19/2002Hebe Molmenti, M.D., Ph.D., Private Practice specializing in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT