Treatment: Colostomy

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.


Temporary colostomy

An incision is made in a loop of colon and the edges of the loop are stitched to the skin surface. When the colectomy site has healed, the incision in the colon is closed and the colon is then returned under the skin.

Permanent colostomy

The cut end of the colon is passed through the abdominal wall. The edges are then stitched to the skin surface to create a permanent opening. Normal defecation is no longer possible.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

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