In a colostomy, part of the colon is cut and the edges are attached to the skin of the abdomen to form an artificial opening called a stoma. Faeces are expelled through the stoma into a disposable bag. A colostomy is performed following a colectomy and may be either temporary or permanent. If part of the colon has been removed, a temporary colostomy may be carried out to allow the rejoined ends to heal without faeces passing through the site. A permanent colostomy is needed when the rectum and anus are removed with part of the colon.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.