An ostomy describes a surgically created opening in the abdominal wall that helps discharge waste from the small or large intestine into an ostomy bag. During the procedure, an incision is made in the abdomen where a piece of intestine is pulled through and partially placed outside the body. The end of the bowel that connects itself to the ostomy bag is called a stoma. There are different types of ostomies that can be performed depending on the patient’s condition, symptoms, and individual needs.


Ostomy surgery, also called bowel diversion, helps reroute normal movement from the intestines to an ostomy bag. An ostomy surgery may be performed on patients with certain digestive or intestinal disorders such as colorectal cancer, trauma to the small or large intestine, Crohn’s disease, diverticular disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, or a gastrointestinal obstruction.

Risk Factors

Patients with bowel disorders such as Crohn’s disease, diverticular disease, and ulcerative colitis are often at risk of needing an ostomy. Additionally, patients with colorectal cancer may require an ostomy bag.


An ostomy surgery is often necessary for patients with diseased or ineffective bowels. To create an ostomy, a colon and rectal surgeon must first make a circular incision around the affected area. Then, he or she will remove the diseased part of the bowel and bring part of the intestine through the abdominal wall. Once the end of the intestine has been brought through the opening of the abdomen, the surgeon will then attach it to the skin and create a stoma. Most stomas are located in the lower abdomen and are anywhere from ¾ of an inch to less than 2 inches wide. Following the procedure, a removable external collection pouch will be attached to the stoma to collect intestinal waste. Patients will be taught how to care for their ostomy during the recovery phases