Why an ostomy?
Many colorectal cancer patients will have a temporary ostomy after surgery but less than 10% of patients will end up having a permanent ostomy.
Think of your ostomy’s function as you did your natural bowel movements. You still have the same bowel; it just might be redirected for a little while. The real change is having stool come out of an opening made on your stomach.
Before your ostomy surgery, you and your surgeon will discuss the best place for your stoma. They will examine your abdomen will you are in different positions – sitting, standing, or lying down.
The stoma is usually placed below the waistline, in the lower part of the abdomen.
If you have obesity, the stoma may be placed above the waistline.
There are several factors that affect where your stoma is placed. Your surgeon will place it in location that:
Most people recover from ostomy surgery with few difficulties.
You will have a stoma visible on your abdomen. The stoma looks like a small, pink circle about the size of a quarter. It may be flat against your body or protrude out a bit. The stoma will be connected to a pouch that has an opening where it can be emptied.
You may notice some changes in your digestive system after your stoma surgery:
As your digestive tract heals, these symptoms should improve or lessen over time. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any changes you notice and let them know if these changes are troublesome.
As with any surgery, complications are rare but may arise. In addition to infection and bleeding, there are some specific complications that can occur after a stoma is placed.
Contact your doctor right away if you notice any of the following:
An ostomy nurse or other specialist will teach you how to manage the care of your new ostomy.
Before your surgery, ask your surgeon who will be teaching you.
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