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Alternative Names Return to topIntestinal opening
Definition Return to top
Colostomy is a surgical procedure that brings the end of the large intestine through the abdominal wall. Stools moving through the intestine drain into a bag attached to the abdomen.
Description Return to top
The procedure is usually done after bowel resections or injuries and it may be temporary or permanent.
Colostomy is done while you are under general anesthesia (unconscious and pain-free). It may be done with invasive, open surgery or several small surgical cuts (laparoscopically).
The type of approach used depends upon what other procedure needs to be performed. In general, the incision is made in the abdomen. The bowel resection or repair is performed as needed.
For the colostomy, the end of the healthy colon is brought through the abdominal wall. The edges are stitched to the skin of the abdominal wall. A bag called a stoma appliance is secured around the opening to allow stool to drain.
Why the Procedure is Performed Return to top
There are a number of reasons to perform a colostomy:
Whether a colostomy is temporary or permanent depends on the specific disease or injury. In most instances, colostomies can be reversed.
Risks Return to top
Risks for any anesthesia are:
Risks for any surgery are:
Additional risks are:
After the Procedure Return to top
The colostomy drains stool (feces) from the colon into the colostomy bag. Most colostomy stool is softer and more liquid than stool that is passed normally. How liquid the stool is depends on the location of the segment of intestine used to form the colostomy.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Recovery from this type of surgery is mostly related to the condition or procedure for which the colostomy was performed. Most patients are started on a special diet within 48 hours of surgery.
You'll need to learn how to care for the colostomy and ostomy appliance.Update Date: 5/15/2008 Updated by: Robert A. Cowles, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.