Colostomy is a surgical procedure that brings one end of the large intestine out through the abdominal wall. Stools moving through the intestine drain into a bag attached to the abdomen.
The procedure is usually done after:
The colostomy may be short-term or permanent.
Colostomy is done while you are under general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free). It may either be done with a large surgical cut in the abdomen, or with a small camera and several small cuts (laparoscopy).
The type of approach used depends on what other procedure done needs to be done. In general, the surgical cut is made in the middle of the abdomen. The bowel resection or repair is done as needed.
For the colostomy, one end of the healthy colon is brought out through the abdomen wall, usually on the left side. The edges of bowel are stitched to the skin of the abdomen wall. A bag called a stoma appliance is placed around the opening to allow stool to drain.
Your colostomy may be short-term. If you have surgery on part of your large intestine, a colostomy will allow the other part of your intestine to rest while you recover. Once your body has fully recovered from the first surgery, you will have another surgery to reattach the ends of the large intestine. In general, this is done after 12 weeks.
There are a few reasons to perform a colostomy:
Whether a colostomy is temporary or permanent depends on the disease or injury. In most instances, colostomies can be reversed.
Fry RD, Mahmoud N, Maron DJ, et al. Colon and Rectum. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 50.
Cima RR, Pemberton JH. Ileostomy, colostomy, and pouches. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010: chap 113.
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