After a surgeon has removed the diseased part
of your bowel during an operation called a bowel resection, he or she will then
sew the two healthy ends of your bowel back together. Sometimes the bowel
tissue needs more time to heal before the reattachment, so a temporary
colostomy is needed. Sometimes the entire lower colon or rectum is removed
because it is diseased. In those cases, the colostomy will be permanent.
To perform a colostomy, the surgeon makes an opening through the skin on
your abdomen and connects your bowel to that opening. This opening is called a
stoma or, sometimes, a colostomy. Your stool passes out of your body through
the opening. A disposable bag is attached over the opening to collect
Beginning at the age of 50, everyone should be screened regularly for colorectal cancer (earlier screening is recommended for some high-risk groups). There are several options.
The traditional screening routine was for the doctor to perform a digital rectal exam once a year and for you to collect three stool samples to be tested for traces of blood. Also, every three to five years you would receive a sigmoidoscopy and a double-contrast barium enema to look at the lower part of the bowel. If anything...
A colostomy usually requires
general anesthesia and a hospital stay of 3 days to 2
weeks. You may have a colostomy immediately after other surgery. You can expect
some discomfort during the first few days after surgery. This is usually
controllable with home treatment and drugs.
After the colostomy,
a plastic bag called a
colostomy pouch is taped over the opening on the
outside of your body. You will be taught how to take care of your colostomy
pouch and how to watch for infection. With proper care, you should be able to
return to normal but nonstrenuous activities within a few months.