What is an Ostomy?

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What is an Ostomy?
Ostomy is a surgical procedure that involves the creation of an opening from the surface of the body to a specific internal organ. This procedure can either be permanent or temporary, meaning depending on the condition patients may have the surgical opening stay for as long as it is needed or may even have it permanently. Ostomies are usually done to redirect waste material that need to be excreted from the body.

One type of ostomy is called colostomy. This refers to the surgical opening coming from the colon or large intestine. This in itself has several sub-types that include sigmoid colostomy which is the most common type and involves the sigmoid or descending colon, transverse colostomy which involves the transverse colon, and ascending colostomy, a rare subtype of colostomy involving the ascending part of the colon. All these subtypes may also be permanent or temporary.

Another type of ostomy is ileostomy which refers to the surgical opening created on the small intestine. Most common location of this surgical procedure is at the end part of the ileum and may necessitate the removal of the entire or parts of the colon. Ileostomy also has subtypes like “ileoanal reservoir” and “continental ileostomy’ with both involving different “pouch” techniques.

Aside from the large and small intestines, surgical openings may also be created to the urinary bladder. This procedure is called a urostomy which involves the diversion of urine secondary to disease or damage to the bladder. In this procedure, part of the ileum or the cecum may be removed surgically to allow the passage of urine from the kidneys to the opening outside the body.

Ostomy procedures are typically one of the last resorts to certain medical conditions that require surgical openings into internal organs. Some patients may take the procedure as necessary for continuity in life, while others have some concerns. For one, patients typically have a changed concept of their own image after surgery. Some of them even need psychotherapy to help them cope with the changes in their bodies. Others also have issues on the difficulty in taking care of themselves with appliances attached to their bodies. For most, if not all, strong family support is essential to help patients cope with bodily changes after surgery.

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