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We are here to support those of all ages who have had, or are going to have ostomy surgery.  
What is an Ostomy?
 
An ostomy refers to the surgically created opening in the body for the discharge of body wastes. This surgery is necessary in some people for many reasons. For some, it is due to cancer. For others, it could be due to inflammatory bowel diseases, severe kidney disease, congenital defects, urinary incontinence or injury. 
 
What is a Stoma?
 
A stoma is the actual end of the ureter or small or large bowel that can be seen protruding through the abdominal wall. 
 
What  are the Different Types of Ostomies?
 
Colostomy The surgically created opening of the colon (large intestine) which results in a stoma. A colostomy is created when a portion of the colon or the rectum is removed and the remaining colon is brought to the abdominal wall. It may further be defined by the portion of the colon involved and/or its permanence.
Temporary Colostomy Allows the lower portion of the colon to rest or heal. It may have one or two openings (if two, one will discharge only mucus).
Permanent Colostomy Usually involves the loss of part of the colon, most commonly the rectum. The end of the remaining portion of the colon is brought out to the abdominal wall to form the stoma.
Sigmoid or Descending Colostomy The most common type of ostomy surgery, in which the end of the descending or sigmoid colon is brought to the surface of the abdomen. It is usually located on the lower left side of the abdomen.
Transverse Colostomy The surgical opening created in the transverse colon resulting in one or two openings. It is located in the upper abdomen, middle or right side.
Loop Colostomy Usually created in the transverse colon. This is one stoma with two openings; one discharges stool, the second mucus.
Ascending Colostomy A relatively rare opening in the ascending portion of the colon. It is located on the right side of the abdomen.
 
 
Ileostomy A surgically created opening in the small intestine, usually at the end of the ileum. The intestine is brought through the abdominal wall to form a stoma. Ileostomies may be temporary or permanent, and may involve removal of all or part of the entire colon.
Ileoanal Reservoir (J-Pouch) This is now the most common alternative to the conventional ileostomy. Technically, it is not an ostomy since there is no stoma. In this procedure, the colon and most of the rectum are surgically removed and an internal pouch 
is formed out of the terminal portion of the ileum. An opening at the bottom of this pouch is attached to the anus such that the existing anal sphincter muscles can be used for continence. This procedure should only be performed on patients with ulcerative colitis or familial polyposis who have not previously lost their anal sphincters. In addition to the "J" pouch, there are "S" and "W" pouch geometric variants. It is also called ileoanal anastomosis, pull-thru, endorectal pullthrough, pelvic pouch and, perhaps the most impresssive name, ileal pouch anal anastomosis (IPAA).
Continent Ileostomy (Kock Pouch) In this surgical variation of the ileostomy, a reservoir pouch is created inside the abdomen with a portion of the terminal ileum. A valve is constructed in the pouch and a stoma is brought through the abdominal wall. A catheter or tube is inserted into the pouch several times a day to drain feces from the reservoir. This procedure has generally been replaced in popularity by the ileoanal reservoir (above). A modified version of this procedure called the Barnett Continent Intestinal Reservoir (BCIR) is performed at a limited number of facilities.
 
 
Urostomy This is a general term for a surgical procedure which diverts urine away from a diseased or defective bladder. The ileal or cecal conduit procedures are the most common urostomies. Either a section at the end of the small bowel (ileum) or at the beginning of the large intestine (cecum) is surgically removed and relocated as a passageway (conduit) for urine to pass from the kidneys to the outside of the body through a stoma. It may include removal of the diseased bladder.
Continent Urostomy There are two main continent procedure alternatives to the ileal or cecal conduit (others exist). In both the Indiana and Kock pouch versions, a reservoir or pouch is created inside the abdomen using a portion of either the small or large bowel. A valve is constructed in the pouch and a stoma is brought through the abdominal wall. A catheter or tube is inserted several times daily to drain urine from the reservoir.
Indiana Pouch The ileocecal valve that is normally between the large and small intestines is relocated and used to provide continence for the pouch which is made from the large bowel. With a Kock pouch version, which is similar to that used as an ileostomy alternative, the pouch and a special “nipple” valve are both made from the small bowel. In both procedures, the valve is located at the pouch outlet to hold the urine until the catheter is inserted.
Orthotopic Neobladder A replacement bladder, made from a section of intestine, that substitutes for the bladder in its normal position and is connected to the urethra to allow voiding through the normal channel. Like the ileoanal reservoir, this is technically not an ostomy because there is no stoma. Candidates for neobladder surgery are individuals who need to have the bladder removed but do not need to have the urinary sphincter muscle removed.

Urostomy

Colostomy

Ileostomy

 
Types of Pouching Systems

Pouching systems may include a one-piece or two-piece system. Both kinds include a skin barrier/wafer ("faceplate" in older terminology) and a collection pouch. The pouch (one-piece or two-piece) attaches to the abdomen by the skin barrier and is fitted over and around the stoma to collect the diverted output, either stool or urine. The barrier/wafer is designed to protect the skin from the stoma output and to be as neutral to the skin as possible.
 
Colostomy and Ileostomy Pouches
Can be either open-ended, requiring a closing device (traditionally a clamp or tail clip); or closed and sealed at the bottom. Open-ended pouches are called drainable and are left attached to the body while emptying. Closed end pouches are most commonly used by colostomates who can irrigate (see below) or by patients who have regular elimination patterns. Closed end pouches are usually discarded after one use.
  • Two-Piece Systems - Allow changing pouches while leaving the barrier/wafer attached to the skin. The wafer/barrier is part of a "flange" unit. The pouches include a closing ring that attaches mechanically to a mating piece on the flange. A common connection mechanism consists of a pressure fit snap ring, similar to that used in Tupperware™.
  • One-Piece Systems - Consist of a skin barrier/wafer and pouch joined together as a single unit. Provide greater simplicity than two-piece systems but require changing the entire unit, including skin barrier, when the pouch is changed.
Both two-piece and one-piece pouches can be either drainable or closed.
 
Irrigation Systems - Some colostomates can “irrigate,” using a procedure analogous to an enema. This is done to clean stool directly out of the colon through the stoma. This requires a special irrigation system, consisting of an irrigation bag with a connecting tube (or catheter), a stoma cone and an irrigation sleeve. A special lubricant is sometimes used on the stoma in preparation for irrigation. Following irrigation, some colostomates can use a stoma cap, a one- or two-piece system which simply covers and protects the stoma. This procedure is usually done to avoid the need to wear a pouch.
 
Urinary Pouching Systems
Urostomates can use either one or two piece systems. However, these systems also contain a special valve or spout which adapts to either a leg bag or to a night drain tube connecting to a special drainable bag or bottle.
 
These are the major types of pouching systems. There are also a number of styles. For instance there are flat wafers and convex shaped ones. There are fairly rigid and very flexible ones. There are barriers with and without adhesive backing and with and without a perimeter of tape. Some manufacturers have introduced drainable pouches with a built-in tail closure that doesn't require a separate clip. The decision as to what particular type of system to choose is a personal one geared to each individual's needs. There is no right or wrong choice, but each person must find the system that performs best for him or her.
 
The larger mail-order catalogues will illustrate the types and styles from all or most of the suppliers. If you have any trouble with your current pouching system, discuss the problem with an ostomy nurse or other caregiver and find a system that works better for you. It is not uncommon to try several types until the best solution is found. Free samples are readily available for you to try. There is no reason to stay with a poorly performing or uncomfortable pouching system.

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Types of Accessories

 
You may need or want to purchase certain pouching accessories. The most common items are listed below.
 
Barrier Rings/Seals
Barrier rings/seals can be molded to a variety of shapes to help prevent leakage around the stoma by acting as filler for uneven skin surfaces. They come in large and small sizes, convex and flat shapes, and are either thick or thin. 
 
Stoma Powder
Stoma powder protects raw and weeping skin by creating a sticky gel. It is used sparingly to absorb moisture or exudate from skin prior to placing a skin barrier on peristomal skin.
 
Barrier Strips
Barrier Strips are skin-friendly strips that provide extra security and support for longer wear-time. The elastic follows the contours of your body,  ensures the position of your barrier and minimizes roll-up. Come in different forms.
 
Adhesive Remover 
Adhesive remover dissolve residual skin barrier adhesive. This can be purchased in spray or wipe form.
 
Skin Barrier Prep
Skin prep is a liquid barrier film that forms a breathable, transparent coating on the skin. Protects damaged or intact skin from body fluids, adhesive trauma, friction, and incontinence. It can be purchased in spray or wipe form.