Colostomy: Purpose, Risk and Procedure

A colostomy is a surgical operation that creates opening for the large intestine from the abdominal. During the course of the procedure, one of the end of the colon is deviated by an incision into the abdominal wall to create an stoma. Stools flow out of the ostomy into a bag or pouch attached to the abdomen. Individuals with temporary or long-term colostomy have pockets attached to their sides where excrement accumulates and can be readily eliminated.

Colostomies may not be permanent, particularly in children with Congenital disorder.

A colostomy may be the result of one of many procedures for correcting problems with the lower gastrointestinal tract. Other “ostomies” include ileostomy and urostomy. An ileostomy is a diversion from the bottom of the small intestinal tract. A urostomy is a rerouting of the tubes which transport urine out of the bladder.

A colostomy can also be known as bowel bypass therapy.

Why a Colostomy Is Performed

Colostomies are carried out as a result of problems with the lower intestine. Certain problems can be corrected by temporarily deflecting feces from the intestines. This is when temporary colostomy is used to keep bowel stool away from the colon. (1)

Conditions where you may require a permanent colostomy include: (2) (3)

  • Crohn’s disease
  • colorectal cancer
  • colonic polyps
  • diverticulitis
  • blockage
  • an injury
  • imperforate anus or other birth defects
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • ulcerative colitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

Risks of a Colostomy

A colostomy is a very important surgery. As with any surgical procedure, there is the potential for allergic reactions to anesthesia and too much bleeding.

There are other risks associated with colostomy as well:

  • Skin irritation
  • Wound opening
  • obstruction of the colostomy.
  • damage to the rest of the organs.
  • hernia
  • infection
  • internal bleeding
  • Scar tissue problems
  • prolapse of the colostomy

Your physician can provide a better explanation of your personal risks, the risks of surgery, the potential for complications and the benefits of surgical treatment.

How to Prepare for a Colostomy

Before the operation, your doctor will obtain blood samples, Conduct a physical check-up and review your full medical history. During these visits, inform your doctor of any previous surgical procedures you have undergone and the drugs you are taking, including non-prescription drugs or supplements.

It is probable that your physician will ask you to fast at least 12 hours prior to surgery. You may also receive a laxative or enema to take on the eve of surgery to help clean your intestines.

You may want to prepare to stay in the hospital for 3-7 days.

How a Colostomy Is Performed

You can change to a hospital gown before the operation. A nurse will give you an intravenous or an intravenous into your arm. This makes it easy for hospital staff to give you fluids and medications, and it’s also how you will receive your general anesthesia. This will plunge you into a deep and painless sleep while operating. (1)

During your sleep, hospital personnel will drive you to the operating room for your colostomy. Once you have been cleaned and prepared, your surgeon will incise your abdominal area. This cut can be large, or it can be a series of smaller cuts. Smaller incisions are applied to laparoscopy. This is done with small tools and a camera inserted into an incision. The camera will be used to guide your physician through the surgical procedure.

During the operation, your physician will locate the ideal part of the large intestine for opening, or ostomy. Your physician will cut the bowel in the proper area and bring it across your abdominal wall.

Your doctor will inject you with a surgical ring on your abdominal wall. This ring will maintain the extremity of the bowel in place. This ring can be permanent, or it can be put on temporarily to help your skin heal around your exposed bowel.

Once this is all set up, Your physician will close your injury with stitches and you will be taken to a recovery room. In the meantime, staff will wait until you wake up and monitor your vitals to make sure everything goes well.

After a Colostomy

Recovery in the hospital consists of being slowly re-introduced into fluids and food to ensure that there are no digestive problems. On the first day, you will probably only get ice cubes to relieve your thirst. Following this, you will be given clear fluids and soft foods.

You will also learn about the proper use of colostomy bags. A colostomy bag is the place your stools are going to collect while you have your colostomy. Hospital staff will also provide you with information about your diet, activity and more. It is important that this information be followed.

You will have follow-up appointments with your physician to check your status and colostomy.

Inform your physician about one of the following:

  • Continuous nausea
  • Serious sores
  • cut in the stoma

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