Colostomy is a surgical procedure that brings one end of the large intestine out through an opening (stoma) made in the abdominal wall. Stools moving through the intestine drain through the stoma into a bag attached to the abdomen.
The procedure is usually done after:
- Bowel resection
- Injury to the bowel
The type of approach used depends on what other procedure needs to be done. The surgical cut is usually made in the middle of the abdomen. The bowel resection or repair is done as needed.
For the colostomy, one end of the healthy colon is brought out through an opening made in the abdomen wall, usually on the left side. The edges of bowel are stitched to the skin of opening. This opening is called a stoma. A bag called a stoma appliance is placed around the opening to allow stool to drain.
Your colostomy may be short-term. If you have surgery on part of your large intestine, a colostomy allows the other part of your intestine to rest while you recover. Once your body has fully recovered from the first surgery, you will have another surgery to reattach the ends of the large intestine. This is usually done after 12 weeks.
Why the Procedure is Performed
Reasons a colostomy is done include:
- Infection of the abdomen, such as perforated diverticulitis or an abscess.
- Injury to the colon or rectum (for example, a gunshot wound).
- Partial or complete blockage of the large bowel (intestinal obstruction).
- Rectal or colon cancer.
- Wounds or fistulas in the perineum. The area between the anus and vulva (women) or the anus and scrotum (men).