A surgical procedure bringing out a part of the colon through a cut in the belly to create a temporary or permanent stoma is known as a colostomy. This bowel diversion helps with the evacuation of bodily wastes when a part of the colon and rectum cannot function properly.
The large intestine
The large intestine consists of the colon and rectum. It connects the anus to the small intestine. The small intestine digests nutrients from foods, and the colon moves wastes to the anus. The colon also absorbs water and electrolytes from those wastes.
Reasons for a colostomy
The colostomy procedure involves the removal of the lower part of the large intestine. Your surgeon may opt for this procedure for the following reasons.
- Blocked or damaged large intestine
- Surgical removal of a part of the large intestine
- Ruptured colon raising the risk of abdominal infection
A colostomy may also be a part of the treatment of colorectal cancer. Other cancers that may necessitate a colostomy are prostate cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, and cervical cancer. Other bowel conditions that can lead individuals to require a colostomy are ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and polyps.
Duration of a colostomy
In most cases, a colostomy is required for a few months. Its purpose is usually to allow an infected or injured part of the bowel to heal before the surgeon reconnects it with the healthy part. Some people, however, need a permanent colostomy due to severe bowel issues.
Types of colostomy
Each type of colostomy gets its name based on the location of the stoma.
- Sigmoid Colostomy: It is the most common type of colostomy. It is located in the lower section of the large bowel. The sigmoid colon is located just above the rectum. A sigmoid colostomy usually produces more firm stools compared to other types of colostomies.
- Transverse colostomy: This colostomy is present on the upper section of the colon. The stool produced by this colostomy is soft due to a shortened length of the colon.
- Descending colostomy: The descending colostomy is present on the left side of the abdomen. The stoma is created on the descending colon, which is located just above the sigmoid colon. It produces firm stools.
- Ascending colostomy: This colostomy is more proximal to the ileum. Because a person with this colostomy retains only a small segment of the colon, stools passing out of the stoma are more watery.
What to expect during surgery
You will undergo surgery under the influence of general anesthesia. During surgery, the surgeon will bring out a part of the colon after disconnecting it from the diseased section of the bowel. He will stick this part with the abdominal wall, creating a stoma. The procedure of creating a colostomy can be an open surgery or the laparoscopic one.
The initial recovery phase may extend up to ten days. During this time, the patient has to remain hospitalized for a closer observation of the recovery process. The overall recovery may take 6-8 weeks. During this time, you have to stick to a restricted diet plan and a limited physical activity regimen. You will resume your physical activities and eat anything you want after the recovery is complete.