Five Common Types of Ostomy Surgery
The purpose of an ostomy surgery is to divert stool or urine via a loop of intestine to the outside of the body through a fleshy opening in the abdominal wall, called a stoma. This is connected to a replaceable external pouch that allows for the waste to be collected and discarded.
While in some cases the creation of a diverting ostomy may be temporary, such as to allow for surgical healing, the procedure may also be permanent.
Types of ostomy surgery
Diverting ostomy surgeries come in a few different varieties and can be performed to reroute stool or urine depending on the particular health condition or need. Five types of ostomy surgery are most common.
Colostomies involve the surgical removal of a portion of the colon or rectum. During a colostomy, the remaining bit of the colon is brought to the abdominal wall, rerouting stool to be expelled through a stoma created in the abdomen.
Urostomies are used to surgically divert urine to be expelled through a stoma, typically in cases where the bladder has been surgically removed or is functionally impaired. The two most common types of urostomies are an ileal conduit and a cecal conduit. For an ileal conduit urostomy, part of the small bowel is removed and relocated to create a new path for urine to move from the kidneys to the outside of the body through a stoma. A cecal conduit urostomy does the same thing, except it removes part of the beginning of the large intestine to help divert urine out of the body.
Ileostomies reroute stool to be expelled through a stoma by creating an opening in the terminal or last segment of the small intestine, also known as the ileum. An ileostomy can be temporary or permanent, depending on the case.
J-pouch surgery involves removing the entire colon and rectum but preserving the muscles (sphincter) and opening (anus) at the end of the rectum. The surgeon then constructs a pouch shaped like the letter J from the end of the small intestine and attaches it to the anus.
Continent urostomies most commonly involve the creation of a reservoir pouch, using the small or large bowel, inside the abdomen, according to the United Ostomies Association of America. A valve is connected to the pouch and through a stoma created in the abdomen so urine can be emptied externally.
Reasons for ostomy surgery
The reasons for ostomy surgery vary, but the common thread through all of them is a need to reroute bodily waste from the body through alternative methods.
Ostomy surgery may be performed for a variety of medical needs, including congenital defects, cancer, injury or trauma, and complications from inflammatory bowel disease, to name a few.
Have a thorough discussion with your doctor prior to ostomy surgery to make sure you understand the type you are having and its associated complications. Also, ask your health provider about connecting with other ostomy patients; there are many support groups you might find helpful.