An ostomy is a medical procedure characterized by the partial removal of the bladder or any of the bowel divisions.
The procedure can fall into 3 categories according to the organ which needs to be partially extracted. It is referred to as an urostomy when the bladder is affected, an ileostomy when it involves the small bowel and a colostomy when it affects the large bowel.
Keep in mind that this procedure is only performed when any of the above organs have been affected by a disorder and whose health can only be regained by performing a partial extraction. As the procedure goes along, the surgeon will perform an artificial opening in the midriff area.
This opening allows the flow of feces and urine to be redirect. An especially designed medical bag is employed to collect these body discharges. There are different bags available in the market to fit the needs and way of life of a particular ostomate.
An ostomy can be performed as a long-term or short-term solution for improving a health condition. The doctor will be able to reveal the nature of the ostomy’s length according to the condition in hand.
This procedure can be performed as a result of numerous disorders, such as: congenital disorders, blockage of the tubes that connect the kidney and the bladder, full thickness injuries affecting the midriff area, chronic inflammation in the colon or small bowel, colorectal cancer and genetic disorders.
Preparing Mentally for an Ostomy
Once an ostomy has been scheduled by a doctor, being scared and nervous about the procedure is a natural and human reaction. Any procedure that involves making an incision and manipulating body tissue can be tough to come to terms with for the patient as well as his/her family and friends.
In order to cope with the ramifications of this procedure in a healthier manner it is crucial to be informed about the general aspects this procedure entails. If any concern regarding any stage of an ostomy arises, the patient should not be afraid to consult with a medical professional about it.
To go into the procedure with a positive mindset, it is important to remember that an ostomy is performed to improve the overall health condition of a person and to allow the restoration of his/her urinary system.
Doctor Visit Prior Ostomy
Prior entering the operating room, it is likely that the ostomate will have to attend an appointment made ‘by the doctor who will be in charge of the procedure. During this visit the following points could be touched upon:
- If an urostomy, an ileostomy or a colostomy will be performed
- If the procedure is meant as a short-term or a long-term solution
- The location of the opening
If the doctor does not discuss with the patient the location of the incision, then it is recommended to question him/her about it. The decision of where to perform the incision should be planned carefully and strategically. The wrong decision can have negative consequences, including:
- The malfunction of the bag carrying body discharge
- The damage of the tissue surrounding the incision area
- The trespass of fluids
The place at which the opening will be made should be easy to locate as well as easy to view. This is in order to manage the act of taking off the bag and re-placing it on the correct position.
The incision should be made over an area which is smooth and does not have any lumps. Doctors should avoid making this opening close to the bones, skinfolds and previous wounds. When the doctor is assessing where to make this opening it is important to consider the patient’s comfort when changing positions.
Getting a certified ostomy caregiver
In some cases, the doctor might provide the ostomate with the information of a professional caregiver before the operation has taken place.
A certified ostomy caregiver is an essential part of the recovery process. These are the people that will help the patient cope with the challenges brought about this new life altering event.
This caregiver will become an ally the person can safely rely on. Professional carers can make the patient feel less lonely, since they both will go through the stages of the process together.
In the case the ostomate has found a caregiver prior the procedure, then this professional will be able to offer support by:
- Helping the patient cope with the needed life alterations the procedure will bring
- Working along the patient during the preparation process
- Gaining knowledge of the ostomate’s preferences and overall way of life
- Working along the doctor to determine the best location for the opening
If finding a certified ostomy caregiver before the procedure is impossible, then joining a self-help group near the patient’s home might be an alternative. These groups might be capable of finding or recommending someone specialized in the field to provide the person with everything that is needed before an ostomy.
It is All About a Team Coming Together
The group of professionals that will take care of the ostomate prior, during and after an ostomy is crucial for a successful procedure and recovery process. Any concern that comes to mind can be answered by them during the routine medical check up conducted before the operation.
Right after the procedure is done, usually a nurse will talk to the patient about everything that went through during the medical intervention.
The nurse will be able to explain how the patient’s body has changed and the correct care that should be performed when dealing with the incision.
These are just generalities, since each nurse decides what to share following a case by case analysis. This is because each person has a different body, therefore different recovery processes are to be expected. It is common for the ostomate to stay in the medical facility for a period of time, until care can be continued at home.
As evidenced by this article, specialized doctors, professional carers, hospital staff, friends and family play a crucial role in the different stages of an ostomy.