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Before stoma surgery

Stoma surgery can seem like an extremely daunting and nerve-wracking experience, which is completely understandable! If you are feeling worried about your upcoming procedure, it can help to remind yourself that you are in the hands of experienced professionals who will make sure that you’re comfortable throughout your hospital stay.

It’s entirely normal to have a lot of questions regarding your upcoming procedure, so read on to find out more about what you can expect.

What exactly is stoma surgery?

During stoma surgery, the surgeon will remove the damaged area of the small intestine, large intestine or bladder. They will then create an opening from the outside of the abdomen where waste will pass through, this opening is known as the stoma.

There are, in fact, different types of stoma surgery, these are:

  • Colostomy (large intestine)
  • Ileostomy (small intestine)
  • Urostomy (urinary tract)

The type of surgery you require will depend on which of these three organs has become too damaged to recover on its own, whether this is through a medical condition or other reason.

Common reasons for stoma surgery

There are many reasons that a person may require stoma surgery, including:

  • Cancer (colon, bladder or rectal)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis)
  • Inherited conditions
  • Birth abnormalities
  • Trauma or injury
  • Congenital conditions, such as spina bifida
  • Obstructions

How long will the surgery take?

The duration of your surgery depends entirely on the type of procedure you require. As we’ve mentioned above, there are three main types of stoma surgery (colostomy, ileostomy and urostomy.) Each type of procedure has a varied duration, therefore you’ll need to speak to your doctor or stoma nurse to find out more details about your upcoming procedure.

However, with all stoma procedures, you can expect to spend between 3 and 10 days in hospital after surgery.

What to take to hospital with you for surgery

So you’ve been given the date of your stoma surgery, you know what hospital it’s at and what time you need to be there, but what do you actually need to take with you? This is a question many people have when they’re going into hospital for stoma surgery, which is why we’ve provided some of the essentials here…

The necessities

The main necessities that you need to remember to take with you include your toothbrush, a hairbrush, deodorant, extra pairs of underwear, and whatever other toiletries you can’t live without.

There are also some legal documents that you should take with you, these include a form of ID, insurance cards, a list of medications including the name, dosage and frequency. It’s also a good idea to take a list of important phone numbers in case you need to make contact with anyone.

As long as you’ve packed these necessities, you can’t go far wrong. Of course, there are other things to take to make your hospital stay the best it can be.

Things to keep you busy

Whilst you’ll be doing a lot of sleeping, you’ll still have a lot of time on your hands during your hospital stay. Therefore, you need to take things with you to keep yourself entertained, after all, there’s only so much daytime TV you can watch before losing your mind.

Pack your laptop or tablet that has access to a range of tv shows and movies, a mobile phone to keep in touch with your friends and family, and headphones to listen to your favourite music. You can also pack your favourite book, magazines, crosswords, a notebook or diary and even some playing cards! Whatever keeps you entertained in your free time, take it with you to the hospital.

Things to keep you comfortable

One thing that can massively improve your hospital experience is through doing what you can to make yourself comfortable. So, pack your favourite comfy PJs, your dressing gown, and even your bed socks, and try to make yourself feel at home.

You can even bring some home comforts such as your favourite teddy bear, photographs of family or friends and even your comfiest cushion.

What you take with you to the hospital is completely up to you and there is no right or wrong answer, just make sure you pack the things you need and also some things to keep you busy. If you’ve got any other questions regarding your hospital visit, feel free to speak to our nurses or your doctor for expert advice.

The different types of stoma surgery

As we’ve mentioned briefly above, there are a few different types of stoma surgery. Below you can find some more detailed information about each type.

Colostomy surgery

A colostomy means that waste will be diverted from your digestive system via a stoma at the end of the large intestine. This does mean that you will lose voluntary control of your bowel movements, which will instead pass through the stoma located on your abdomen.

There are four types of colostomy, which are dependant upon which part of your large intestine needs to be removed.

Ascending colostomy – This is towards the beginning of the large intestine and means that your stoma will be located on the right-hand side of your abdomen. The stool produced by an ascending colostomy will still have a liquid to semi-formed consistency, which can be very irritating to the skin around the stoma.

Transverse colostomy – This is across the horizontal section of the large intestine. The stool produced by this type of colostomy will be semi-formed. Quite often a transverse colostomy will be temporary.

Descending colostomy – This is towards the end of the large intestine, meaning the stoma will be located on the left-hand side of the abdomen. This is one of the more common types of colostomy and stool will be semi-formed to formed as more water has been absorbed earlier in the intestine.

Sigmoid colostomy – Located on the lower-left portion of the large intestine, just before the rectum. The stool will be formed by this stage as all water will have been absorbed by the time it reached this section of the intestine.

Ileostomy surgery

An ileostomy is performed on the ileum (small intestine) that requires additional care as it contains digestive enzymes that can cause skin irritation. There are several different ways to form a stoma through ileostomy surgery, which will depend on the reason for the operation. However, the opening will normally be located on the right-hand side of the abdomen.

End ileostomy – This procedure will usually require the removal of the colon (large intestine), after which the small intestine is brought out of the abdomen and stitched to form a stoma.

Loop ileostomy – In this case, a loop of the small intestine is pulled out through an incision in the abdomen and the colon and rectum are left in place. The stoma will have two openings, although will be located close together. One opening is connected to the functioning part of the bowel and the other to the inactive colon. A loop ileostomy is often temporary and can be reversed at a later date.

Urostomy surgery

Unlike a colostomy or an ileostomy, a urostomy is performed on the urinary tract to allow urine to leave the body through a stoma. The urine is collected through the stoma into a stoma bag with a drainage tap that can be emptied multiple times a day.

There are two types of urostomy surgery:

Ileal conduit – By far the most common type of urostomy surgery, an ileal conduit requires the removal of the bladder. Part of the small intestine is then cut and shut at one end to form a new urine container. The tubes that carry urine from the bladder are then connected to this new container with the open end brought through the abdomen to form a stoma.

Ureterostomy – This procedure is much rarer and involved one or both of the tubes from the kidney being redirected directly to the abdominal wall to form a stoma. This type of surgery is often a temporary measure that’s sometimes used in paediatric cases.

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