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What is Colostomy Surgery?

Colostomy is basically a surgical intervention performed so as to make an opening in the abdominal wall. The end of colon which is a part of the large intestine is brought out through this opening so as to form a stoma. The point where this stoma will be located on the abdomen depends upon which part of the colon is utilized so as to make this opening. While some colostomies are large, others are small; some are located on the left side of the abdomen while others are on the right or may be in the middle. A surgeon or WOC nurse called Wound Ostomy Continence nurse would be the right person to figure out which is the best location for colon stoma. Also known as Ostomy nurses, WOC nurses are specially registered nurses who are trained to take care & educate ostomy patients.

Colostomy Surgery


What is a Stoma?

Taking a look at stoma is actually like seeing the mucosa lining of the intestine which appears more like the inside lining of cheeks. Stoma will appear to be pink or red & is warm & moist & also secretes small amounts of mucus. The appearance of stoma will normally depend upon the type of colostomy performed by surgeons influenced by individual body differences. It may first appear to be quite large but eventually, shrink to a final size in about 6 – 8 weeks following surgery. The shape of stoma will be anywhere between round to oval. While some stomas stick out a little, others are flush with the skin. Unlike anus, stoma features no type of valve or any shut-off muscle. In effect, this means that patients will not be able to control passage of stool from stoma. However, at times bowel movements can be managed in some other ways. Moreover, there are no nerve endings inside stoma, so there is no source of any discomfort or pain. Colostomy is in no way a disease, but it is an effective way to alter the way body works. It can in effect surgically change normal body function so as to allow stool to pass through this opening after disease or injury.

Reasons to Consider Colostomy

Reasons as to why colostomy is required include the following.

Reasons to Consider Colostomy

  • Infections of abdomen like abcess or perforated diverticulitis.
  • Injury to rectum or colon including gunshot wounds.
  • Intestinal Obstruction – partial or complete blockage of large bowel.
  • Colon Cancer or Rectal Cancer.
  • Fistulae or wounds in perineum. This is the area between anus & vulva in women or anus & scrotum in men.

What Can Colostomy Do?

After creation of colostomy, intestines would work just as they did before except for the following conditions.

  • Colon & rectum beyond colostomy will now either be removed or stay disconnected.
  • Anus will no longer be the exit route for stools, but will now only pass mucus from time to time; this should be considered as normal.

Since nutrients are normally absorbed in small intestine, colostomy in no way will change how the human body utilizes food. Main functions of colon are to absorb water, move stool towards the anus & subsequently store stool in rectum until it passes out of the body. As colostomy changes the route for stool, storage area will no longer be available. Colon will be shorter in inverse proportion to as higher up colostomy is made in colon. Therefore, as lesser time is now available for colon to absorb water, stool is more likely to be softer or more liquid. Colostomy which is further down in colon near rectum will put out stool which had been in the large intestine for a longer period of time. Depending upon the effects of medicines, illness and/or other types of treatment, longer travel in colon can put out more solid or formed stools. This is why quite a few people with colostomies are able to find that they can pass stools at certain times of the day with or without any need for irrigation. However, some people may still feel the urge & even have some discharges from the anus. This discharge is largely blood, mucus & at times stool, which is left after the surgical procedure. Rectum will, however, keep putting out mucus which can harmlessly be passed whenever patients have the urge in case where rectum is remaining following colostomy surgery.

ALSO READ: What is Colonoscopy?

Time Period for Colostomy

Colostomy surgical intervention is performed for many different conditions & diseases. Colostomies can either be temporary or short-term & permanent or long-term depending upon why they are needed in the first place.

  • Temporary ColostomiesThese are generally performed for lower bowel problems where treatment is aimed at giving rest to part of a bowel. The region to be treated is kept empty by keeping stool away from getting to this part of the bowel. In order to achieve this, a temporary or short-term colostomy is created so that this part of the bowel can heal. The healing process may, however, take a few weeks, months or even years in some cases. Colostomy also will be reversed in time & bowel will work like it did before. Moreover, stool will also exit from the anus once again.
  • Permanent ColostomiesThis type of permanent or long-term colostomy procedure is required when colon or rectum become diseased. While the diseased portion of the bowel is permanently rested or removed, colostomy is also not expected to be closed at anytime in future.

Colostomy Surgical Procedure

While colostomy may be short-term or permanent, it is generally performed while patients are under the influence of general anesthesia in order to make it pain-free. The procedure can either be done with a large surgical incision in abdomen or laparoscopically using a small camera along with several small incisions. The type of approach which is chosen will depend upon whatever other procedures are required to be done along with colostomy. Surgical incisions are usually made in the middle of abdomen, while some are also made to the left or right in particular cases. Bowel resection or bowel repair is also performed as needed. One end of the healthy colon is brought outside through an opening made in the abdominal wall in colostomy & which is usually on the left side. Edges of bowel are also stitched to the skin at the site of the opening. This opening which is medically termed a stoma is a bag appliance which is placed over the opening so as to allow stool drain in it. In case colostomy is short-term this colostomy surgery will allow the other part of intestine to rest while patients recover from the main problem. Once the patient’s colon has fully recovered from the first surgery, they will undergo another surgery in order to reattach the ends of large intestine. This second surgery is usually done after 12 weeks of time following the first surgery.

Risks & Complications Associated with Colostomy

Risks and Complications Associated with Colostomy

Common risks of anesthesia include the following.

  • Reactions to medications
  • Problems with breathing

Common risks of colostomy include the following.

  • Bleeding inside belly after the procedure
  • Damage to organs located nearby
  • Development of hernia at incision site
  • Prolapse of colostomy or falling in of stoma
  • Infections, especially in belly, urinary tract or lungs
  • Narrowing or blockage of stoma or colostomy opening
  • Scar tissue formation in belly which is causing intestinal blockage
  • Breaking open of wound
  • Skin irritation

ALSO READ: What is Colon Cancer?

Caring After Colostomy Procedure

Patients will need to stay in hospital for about 3 – 7 days following colostomy surgery. They may even have to stay for longer periods of time if colostomy was performed as an emergency procedure. Moreover, colostomy patients will gradually be allowed to get back to normal diet.

  • Patients may be allowed to suck on ice chips so as to ease thirst on the day of surgery.
  • Patients will probably be allowed to drink clear liquid by the next day of surgery.
  • Soft foods & thicker fluids will be added as patient’s bowels begin to work again. They may also be eating normally about 2 days following surgical intervention.

Colostomy typically drains feces or stools from colon into stoma or colostomy bag. Colostomy stools are often softer & more liquid than stools which were passed earlier. Texture of stool will, however, depend upon which portion of the intestine is used so as to form colostomy.

Colostomy Surgery Prognosis

Ostomy nurses will normally teach patients about consumption of diet & to care for colostomy before they are released from the hospital. Common alternative names for describing colostomy include Stoma Formation & Intestinal Opening.

Undergo Affordable Colostomy Surgery in India

India is an excellent destination for people who are looking forward to undergo low-cost colostomy surgery. Featuring an extensive healthcare infrastructure which is at par with the best in the world, doctors & surgeons in India are some of the best in the world. Most hospital facilities in India are equipped with the latest technologies so as to provide access to a variety of diagnostic tests & complex surgeries for all types of medical procedures & emergencies. IndianMedTrip is one of the most reputed global healthcare tourism companies providing a wide spectrum of affordable medical procedures including temporary & permanent colostomy surgery for international patients. IndianMedTrip services invariably begin with the first telephonic conversation & go on to identifying the best doctor & the ideal hospital facility. Other seamless services offered by IndianMedTrip include assistance in obtaining medical visa for the patient & his/her companion, warm reception at the airport on arrival, convenient travel, comfortable accommodation, scheduled appointment with doctors & medical procedures without any waiting period, option of exotic recuperation vacation, follow-up evaluation & a successful farewell when patient decides to head back home.

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