Colostomy

Bowel diversion surgery

A colostomy involves diverting your bowel through an opening in your tummy

About

A colostomy is a surgical procedure which involves diverting one end of your bowel though an opening in your tummy. We can then put a bag over this opening to collect your poo. A colostomy may be needed if you're unable to poo through your anus as a result of conditions like bowel cancer, Crohn's disease and bowel incontinence. Sometimes, a colostomy is a temporary measure and can be reversed at a later date (see colostomy reversal).

There are two types of colostomy: a loop colostomy and an end colostomy. Your consultant will decide which is right for you. Both are carried out under general anaesthetic, which means you'll be asleep.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    Loop colostomy

    Your consultant will make a loop of your colon (bowel) and pull it through a cut in your tummy. They'll then open the loop and stitch it to your skin to make a stoma (opening) on either the left or right side of your tummy. Finally, they'll connect the opening to part of your bowel.

    End colostomy

    Your consultant will pull one end of your colon through a cut in your tummy and stitch it to your skin to make the stoma. An end colostomy tends to be a permanent measure. In both cases, your consultant will cover the stoma with a bag to collect your poo.

  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will explain the procedure and answer any questions you might have. Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    After your procedure, we'll transfer you to our recovery ward, where you'll stay for a few days. We may put you on a drip to keep you hydrated until you're able to drink on your own. You'll also be shown how to look after your stoma, including how to empty and change your bag. Your consultant will let you know when you can leave and get back to your usual routine.

Our consultants

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment

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020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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