In a colostomy operation, part of the colon is brought to the surface of the abdomen to form the stoma. A colostomy is usually (but not always) created on the left-hand side of the abdomen. Output consistency depends on where the colostomy is located:
- Ascending colostomy: Output can range from liquid to pasty consistency and may be irritating to the skin
- Transverse colostomy: Output is somewhat formed
- Descending / sigmoid colostomy: Output is formed
Because a stoma has no muscle to control defecation, the output it produces will need to be collected using a stoma pouch.
There are two different types of colostomy surgery: End colostomy and loop colostomy.
If parts of the large intestine (colon) or rectum have been removed, the remaining large intestine is brought to the surface of the abdomen to form a stoma. An end colostomy can be temporary or permanent. The temporary solution is relevant in situations where the diseased part of the bowel has been removed and the remaining part of the bowel needs to rest before the ends are joined together. The permanent solution is chosen in situations where it is too risky or not possible to reconnect the two parts of the intestine.
In a loop colostomy, the bowel is lifted above skin level and held in place with a stoma rod. A cut is made on the exposed bowel loop, and the ends are then rolled down and sewn onto the skin. In this way, a loop stoma actually consists of two stomas (double-barrelled stoma) that are joined together. The loop colostomy is typically a temporary measure performed in acute situations. It can also be carried out to protect a surgical join in the bowel.