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Stomas are created by pulling a piece of the intestine through an incision in the abdomen where it sits outside the body and allows waste to empty naturally through the opening. A waterproof bag is attached to the area around the stoma and collects the waste as it eliminates from the opening. This bag is disposable and can be emptied or replaced as needed throughout the day.

When are stomas created?

A stoma is used when there is a blockage or a defect that won’t allow waste to be removed naturally from the body. There are several reasons a stoma may be needed, including:

  • Cancer
  • Trauma
  • Irritable bowel disease (IBD)
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Birth defect
  • Inability to hold bowel movements

Depending on the purpose, stomas can be temporary or permanent. Temporary stomas are typically used to divert waste away from inflamed areas or sites that are healing, and are reversed when the area has healed. Permanent stomas on the other hand, are created as a long-term solution to a disease or problem that impairs normal intestinal function.

Types of stomas:

Stoma is a general term for the diversion of waste through on opening in the abdominal wall; however, they may be further defined by the part of the intestine that is affected. The three most common types of stomas are colostomy, ileostomy, and urostomy.

  1. Colostomy describes a stoma where part of the colon or rectum has been removed and the remaining portion of the colon is pulled through the abdominal wall to create an opening.
  2. Ileostomy is when the small intestine, usually the ileum, also known as the last portion of the small intestine, is pulled through the abdomen to create the stoma. Ileostomies may be temporary or permanent and may include all or partial removal or the colon.
  3. Urostomy is a general term for surgically diverting urine away from the bladder. This may be done if there is a disease of the bladder or if the bladder isn’t working. Most commonly, either the ileum or the beginning of the large intestine is removed and reattached to divert urine from the kidneys to the outside of the body through the stoma.

Even though there are similarities between the different types of stomas, they all have unique functions, so it’s important to talk to your doctor and understand the differences and what to expect with each.


General Surgeons

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