A colostomy also known as bowel diversion therapy is a surgical procedure in which an incision is made in the abdomen and one end of the colon is brought out through the abdominal wall to form a stoma. A stoma is described as an opening in the skin with a pouch attached to collect the feces. Stoma is the inner lining of the intestine and looks pink to red in color. It is mucus filled and moist surfaced. They will be round or oval shaped. The size of the stoma depends on the type of colostomy done and also varies on individuals. The stoma may appear large after the surgery but later on it shrinks and disappears. Colostomy changes the normal body functioning in removing stools by a different route after the surgery. Colostomy will not cause any pain as there are no nerve endings in the stoma. Colon functions as water absorbent, aids in the movement of stool to the anus and store the stool in the rectum till it is expelled from the body. After a colostomy there is no storage of stool as the connection between the colon and rectum is cut are redirected to the colostomy bag attached to the abdomen.
Why a Colostomy Is Performed
Colostomy is done to correct the bowel movements. Some can be treated temporarily to divert the stool from the colon. In extreme cases like colon cancer, permanent colostomies are carried out and the colon is removed from the body.
Causes that require a permanent colostomy include:
- a blockage
- an injury
- inflammatory bowel disease
- colorectal cancer
- colonic polyps
- imperforate anus or other birth defects
- irritable bowel syndrome
- ulcerative colitis
Before undergoing a colostomy surgery doctors conduct few blood tests and asks the patients in detail about all the meditations and surgeries that have been taken by the patients. Surgery begins with a general anesthetic and an incision is made in the abdomen. Size of the incision depends on the type of colostomy performed. In open colostomy a large insicion is made in the abdomen. In laparoscopic colostomy few small incisions are made and a laparoscope (an instrument with a camera attached at the end) is inserted to view enlarged images of the abdominal cavity.
The surgeon examines the large intestine to find the ideal location for stoma and cut the intestine. Then a ring is implanted to hold the intestine in place. This ring attached to the intestine can be temporary or permanent. Later the incisions are closed and stitched.
After a Colostomy, the colon and rectum are disconnected and diverted to the colostomy bags. Feces are not removed from the anus anymore but collect in the stoma attached. Patients are monitored for any infections. Ice chips are served after the surgery. Later liquid foods are introduced to monitor for any digestive issues. Patients are trained on how to use colostomy bags and instruct on diet and activity levels.