Colostomy - series

Normal anatomy

Normal anatomy

Indication

Indication

Procedure, part1

Procedure, part1

A colostomy creates an opening on the abdomen (stoma) for the elimination of stool (feces) from the large intestine (colon). Colostomies are usually performed after the diseased colon has been removed.

Colostomies may be temporary or permanent. While the patient is deep asleep and pain-free (general anesthesia), an incision is made in the abdomen. The diseased portion of the colon is removed.

Procedure, part 2

Procedure, part 2

Aftercare

Aftercare

In more than 90% of the cases, the surgery is successful.

The patient may have crampy pain after surgery as the anus tightens and relaxes. Medications to relieve pain may be used. Avoid any straining during bowel movement or urination. Soaking in a warm bath can bring additional comfort. Depending on the disease process being treated, colostomies can be removed and the colon reconnected in a second operation within weeks to months after the first operation.

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 1/18/2013
  • Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital.

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