Bowel diversion surgery

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

What is a colostomy?

A colostomy is a surgical procedure which involves diverting one end of your bowel though an opening in your tummy. Your consultant 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.

Need to know

  • What happens during a colostomy? 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.
  • After your procedures icon plus

    We will transfer you to our recovery area, and you will need to stay with us 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 will 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 bowel specialist consultants

We're proud to work with leading gastric experts, who specialise in problems of the bowel and colon, and whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our locations

From complex gastric surgery to diagnostic scans, tests and procedures, we provide exceptional gastrointestinal care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Book an appointment

Our team can help with any enquiries or you can make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

Call us today

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.
back to top