Colostomy

The term Colostomy, is surgery to remove all or part of the colon. In many cases it can dramatically improve a person’s quality-of-life, especially in cases of serious disease.

It is used to treat many conditions including colon cancer, Crohn’s disease, intestinal obstruction and diverticulitis, the removal of the colon is also used as a treatment for ulcerative colitis.

Colostomy is a surgical procedure where the large intestine / colon is cut (A) and brought through the abdomen wall, the colostomy can be created from any part of the colon depending upon the condition and reason for colostomy surgery, but most commonly is created from the descending colon and will be on the left side of the abdomen, this type of colostomy produces a stool that is semi to well-formed because it has passed through the ascending and transverse colon.

The other types of Colostomy are Ascending and Transverse but are less common, both of which produce a stool that is more liquid and contains digestive enzymes that can irritate the skin.

Colostomies Can Be both Temporary and Permanent depending upon the reason behind the surgery.

A temporary colostomy may be used when the part of the colon (normally the lower section) needs time to heal after trauma or surgery.  After the colon is healed, the colostomy can be reversed, returning the bowel function to normal, In the reversal surgery the two ends of the colon are reconnected and the stoma area in the abdomen is closed.

A permanent colostomy is necessary for some conditions, including about 15% of rectal cancer cases, this surgery is commonly used when the rectum needs to be removed because of disease or cancer, most of the colon would normally be removed, and the remaining portion used to create a stoma.