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Complications of Colostomy

Colostomy is a surgical procedure in which an opening on the front wall of the abdomen is made to ease the removal of feces after extensive operations of the large intestine.

There are several possible complications connected to the very procedure. The infection is the leading one. This can be easily explained by the proximity of the bacteria that normally live in colon. These bacteria can contaminate the operated area. The best way to prevent possible infection after colostomy is timely application of antibiotics.

Prolonged and excessive bleeding can be another complication of colostomy. In some patients who are already suffering from problems with coagulation there is even a chance of thrombophlebitis. The inflammation and clod clots most commonly affect veins in the legs. Thrombophlebitis may consequently lead to pulmonary embolism which is rather serious and potentially life threatening condition. And some patients may develop pneumonia after the surgical procedure.

Additional complication is slow closure of the wound. Namely, in some patients the opening on the front wall of the abdomen is only temporary and it will be closed once the surgeon decides it is time for that. The wound may need longer time to heal properly. Still it eventually heals completely. And finally, it may take some time for a patient to recover completely. General health of the patients is what determines the recovery.

Colostomy Care

The stoma is in majority of cases made in the lower left area of the abdomen. The stoma is a red, round hole. A specific plastic bag is attached to the opening and the purpose of this colostomy pouch is to collect feces.

Each and every patient is taught how to take proper care of colostomy. This is essential as only by proper hygiene one can successfully prevent infections. Some patients require the assistance of a specialized stomal therapist. These specialists will provide with all the necessary information about cleansing and irrigation of the stoma. Irrigation of the stoma is very important but it does not have to be performed on daily bases. Even though it may be rather stressful in the beginning, patients eventually get used to living with the stoma.

Irrigation will help the patient to maintain the regular bowel movements. It will also help to complete elimination of the stool so this way there will be no stool elimination between two irrigations. The patient will feel more secure and will not worry about spillage between two irrigations.

Rubbing and any kind of friction of the stoma may result in abrasions. These skin changes are treated with lubricated gauze. In case, that infection or any kind of skin problems occur the patient will be given suitable ointments and will be explained what to do to restore the proper health of the surrounding skin.

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