Ostomy Bags: Drainable, Closed, Two-Piece, and One-Piece

Before being discharged from the hospital, it is important that an ostomy nurse helps you choose an appropriate ostomy bag system. Do not overlook this step. Not knowing about ostomy supplies once at home may be quite distressful. Depending on the type of ostomy (colostomy, ileostomy or urostomy), the ostomy bag needed will differ. Despite an initial introduction regarding stoma care and ostomy supplies suitable, you will likely face additional questions, so it is recommended that you keep close contact with your ostomy professional. Once familiar with the process, you may try different ostomy bag options. Do not settle until you find one that fully adjusts to your needs.

One-Piece Ostomy Bag versus Two-Piece Ostomy Bag Systems:

Ostomy bag systems may be classified in two groups: one-piece and two-piece. A one-piece ostomy bag brings the skin barrier attached (hence one-piece). The skin barrier is the adhesive disc that affixes around the stoma and helps protect the peristomal skin. One-piece ostomy bags are easier to put on and faster to replace. They are also less conspicuous under clothing. One-piece ostomy bags should be replaced daily.

A two-piece ostomy bag comes with the skin barrier as a separate unit (hence two-piece). The skin barrier and ostomy bag connect to each other through a flange, a plastic ring that snaps into place. This system, while more expensive to purchase than the one-piece, turns out to be more economical as it allows changes of the ostomy bag while keeping the skin barrier in place. The bag in a two-piece system should be changed after 2-5 days whereas the skin barrier once or twice per week. Both systems are equally effective so the election of which to adopt is based on user preference.

Drainable Ostomy Bags versus Closed Ostomy Bag Systems:

Ostomy bags may be further classified into drainable and closed. Drainable ostomy bags are open ended and sealed with a clamp, clip, press and seal, or velcro. They are simple to empty and wash. They are designed for those with frequent discharge (ileostomy patients), those with resection of the upper colon or those who can irrigate (some colostomy patients). Drainable ostomy bags should be emptied when half-full.

Closed ostomy bags are single use. They are meant to be removed and discarded once full. Closed ostomy bags cannot be emptied. They are aimed at those with less discharge.

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