How is a colostomy created?

A colostomy requires a surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia. During the surgery, the surgeon creates a hole in the abdominal wall. A part of the healthy colon is brought through this opening in the abdomen and stitched to the skin. Unlike the anus, the opening of the colostomy has no sphincter muscle, so you cannot control the exit of waste. A pouch or stoma bag is worn on the abdomen and collects the waste. The pouch is emptied several times throughout the day, and the pouch is replaced a couple of times a week.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/07/2016.

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